Line cooks are the unsung heroes of the restaurant kitchen. This is the team that prepares your tartare And clean the fryer every night. The team that stays late so you can order half the menu five minutes before closing, then organizes, sanitizes and preps every inch of a restaurant before it opens the next day. These often-overlooked culinary professionals will soon play a starring role in a series of Monday night dinners, starting September 11, called Programming.
The series, which returns for three nights this month, features cooks from New York restaurants. Bonnie, Rolo And The four horsemen, is the brainchild of chef and Today Show culinary contributor Elena Besser. She came up with the idea for the concept after working for a year and a half on the opening team at Missy Robbins’ famous restaurant, Lilia, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
This experience inspired Elena to build a team that celebrates the behind-the-scenes work of line cooks by putting them front and center for diners.
“This is a platform to gain experience and confidence to eventually take the next step in their career, or just feel invigorated by the restaurant industry in general,” said Elena . It is also an opportunity for the chefs, who will be present, to show their support for their staff.
“Great people will be attracted to supportive work environments,” Elena said. “It might even encourage participating cooks to stay at their restaurant even longer because of their love for the chef and the work culture the restaurant offers.”
The Lineup gives each cook the opportunity to run their own restaurant for the night, starting with menu design and organization. The cooks then work with the Lineup team to bring their vision to life through table settings, drink selection, music, hiring kitchen and back of house staff, and providing constructive feedback . Elena said: “They prepare their food…to make it as good as possible and execute it successfully for service. »
Each dinner takes place on a Monday evening, traditionally the designated day off for many restaurant professionals, with two seatings (at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., respectively) at Hudson Table in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Tickets are $195 and include an opening bite and welcome cocktail, followed by a five-course menu and wine pairing. (Pro tip: At the time of writing, you will find the most availability for the 5:30 p.m. session on September 11 with Angness Kim from popular Cantonese-American restaurantBonnie’s and the September 25 dinner with Jonathan Vogt of the Michelin-starred and James Beard Award-winning restaurant, The Four Horsemen).
September 11: Agness Kim, sous chef, Bonnie’s
From The Lineup: “Chef Agness grew up in Flushing, Queens, here in New York, and her cooking is heavily influenced by the healthy foods her mother prepared for her when she was a child. His menu is whimsical and nostalgic and pays homage to both his Korean heritage and his American upbringing. Agness previously worked at Zahav in Philadelphia, Upland, Misi and Win Son.
September 18: Nadine Ghantous, sous chef, Rolo’s
From The Lineup: “Born and raised in a small town outside of Philadelphia, Nadine’s menu is heavily inspired by her Lebanese origins and family who instilled in her a deep passion for food. Served family style, Nadine’s menu will combine both her heritage and contemporary culinary experience. Nadine has already worked at Lilia.
September 25: Jonathan Vogt, line cook, The Four Horsemen
From The Lineup: “Chef Jonathan grew up in Virginia Beach, working in local restaurants there before moving to New York to attend culinary school. His approach to food aims to prove that the best culinary experiences use masterful techniques to let simple ingredients shine. Chef Jonathan’s menu celebrates his philosophy that the simplest food, beautifully prepared, is what makes true fine dining. Jonathan previously worked at Loring Place and Don Angie.
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