The Experiments That Didn’t Make It Into the July/August 2012 Issue

From Affairs to Remember in Atlanta, GA

This week the new issue of Catersource is hitting your mailbox, and there’s so much great content inside. There was, in fact, so much amazing content for this issue that we couldn’t fit it all in the magazine. For example, the above photo almost made our Steal This! page — and the test tubes match perfectly with the rave-like glow of the server’s bracelets. It’s from Affairs to Remember in Atlanta, GA. For other work that didn’t make it into the magazine, see our coverage of global flavors that we weren’t able to include in the issue, additional pairings of food and cocktails, more photos from pop-up restaurants, and more from my interview with Hosea Rosenberg.

Why don’t certain photos make it into Catersource magazine? Some photos, like the one above, are really gorgeous and show off cool ideas, but the size of the photo is too small for print publication. Photos that look good on the web can look pixellated in print if the file isn’t large enough. And sometimes we just don’t have enough space. For example, we received a ton of great photos for our Top Gun feature in this issue, but we didn’t have enough space to print all of them and include all the really phenomenal info that was included in the interviews with Mary Crafts, John Barsotti and Mike Rabe.

From Culinary Crafts in Salt Lake City. What gorgeous drinks! We ran out of space for a lot of the amazing photography at Culinary Crafts.

In every issue, I always have a few more thoughts than what we’re able to include in the pages of the magazine. In the July/August issue, here’s a few things I wasn’t able to include that are really just thoughts, and not even enough for a Get Fresh newsletter story!

  • On pairings: Gosh, all of these looked delicious! This was really a fun story to put together. I loved all of the suggestions from Butler’s Pantry, Peter Callahan and everyone else who participated. When I worked as a server at a high-end cocktail bar — the kind of place that won’t let you order a martini, but instead encourages the classic gin cocktail Aviation — I was told that cocktails didn’t pair with food, that they were to be served apart from the food. But I really don’t believe that’s true! Certain pairings, like Old Fashioneds and Bacon or margaritas and fish tacos, just seem natural! After all, at least for me and probably most of your guests, if I keep drinking cocktails as aperitif, then I won’t taste the food that follows the cocktails at all!
  • On pop-ups: I really see pop-ups as a trend that will disappear in a couple of years, but I think that caterers are doing cool things with them now. Still, I bet in 20 years, we’ll all be sitting around saying “Remember pop-up restaurants?” the way we’ll say “Gosh, we ate so many mini lamb burgers that year” or “We put all of those photos of cirque dancers on Instagram! Those were the days!” There’s nothing wrong with these trends. It’s a whole lot of fun to be on top of new ideas and create something new, but events like pop-ups have their moment. I’m all for embracing the moment, though, and really want to check out some pop-ups here in Minneapolis.
  • And global flavors: This story was very hard to put together. I could have written a full feature on almost every cuisine we covered. There were so many cuisines that I wanted to include, but I knew I couldn’t fit. Indian food is notably missing, as is Brazilian food, Chinese regional cuisine, Russian tastes, and the Scandinavian craze. In the cases of Indian, Chinese and Russian, we didn’t have enough space, and I found sources to talk about other cuisines first. With Brazilian cuisine, I’m sure we will be hearing a whole lot more about it in the next few years, and I didn’t want to ride out the trend too early. The Rio Olympics aren’t until 2016… we can talk about British food and Russian food first!
  • One more note on global flavors: Caterers always wear many culinary hats, so you’re masters of adapting. Clearly you’re bringing a multicultural perspective and trying to honor each cuisine’s tradition, but you’re also catering for a wide audience. Nevertheless, this conversation is worth a read, if you have about 15 minutes to scroll down and waste some time in the middle of your busy season. 😉 Francis Lam wrote a story for the New York Times about American-raised chefs expertly cooking food from other cultures, and Eddie Huang responded about the complexity of the issue. And it’s an issue that they discuss with wayyy more eloquence than I can, but the overall gist is: when you’re cooking another culture’s food, it’s great to make it your own, and give it your own take, but it’s also important to acknowledge where those flavors and ideas came from, and that there is no such thing as the “best Thai food.” There are a bunch of ways of making Thai dishes the best.

And that’s all for right now. Watch this space for more — I’m going to be blogging more frequently, and with lots more features, in the coming months.

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