Evolution of Chefs

I snagged a reservation at the new Indian spot, Jazba, that opened in the old Noodle Bar. I read about it at FoundNY, where Lockhart Steele, the original, who began Eater with Ben Leventhal. I went to the Noodle Bar countless times and was always delighted. 

David Chang transformed where and how we eat out in 2004. Chang’s desire to upgrade the food he wanted to eat when he went out for dinner sent all of us down new paths—one for the records. 

I remember being at Momofuku Saam for a birthday party that I had helped my friends score. It was November 2008, and Christine Tosi made soft ice cream and cookies for everyone at the party. It was when I first met her. She was full of energy and excitement. We all know what has happened to Milk Bar since its opening in 2008. 

I was talking to my friend, a chef, about how so many incredible chefs of that era came to define how we eat and dine in NY. How do these revelations take place? Right time, business, and a desire for the next generations to take what they have learned and reinvent it into something they can call their own.

In this post-COVID world, we are starting to see hints of that in the food world. We went to Sailor last weekend, and April Bloomfield is back in the kitchen with Gabe Stuhlman, serving up a warm, delicious atmosphere in a local spot that is actually to become a destination location. And a new generation of Chinese sites, such as Tolo in Dimes Square. The bakeries craze is a bonus for all of us. And I note that people do not eat as much as they used to, which is a good thing—lots of sharing and smaller plates. 

I have written about being able to walk around NY and remember how neighborhoods or street corners that used to have a spot are now gone. But what is fun is watching the shift in hospitality industries, which casts a large net.

There might be a lot of politicians holding on tight, but there is a new generation truly making themselves known, and it is enjoyable to watch and participate.