Bloomberg critic Ryan Sutton dines at the Restaurant at Meadowood in the Napa Valley and analyzes how "haute vegetables" impact chef Christopher Kostow's costs and cuisine. In a story titled "How Haute Vegetables Are Conquering $500 Tasting Menus," Sutton suggests: "The tight relationships that Manresa, Meadowood and Stone Barns have with their respective farms allow them to harvest what Kinch calls "bespoke" vegetables, cultivated at great expense and tailored to the individual needs of each restaurant." These restaurants' vegetable-heavy, protein-light tasting menus, Sutton suggests, are an important part of haute cuisine's movement forward. They are also expensive; Meadowood's tasting menu clocks in at $500 before tax and drinks.
Over on his blog The Bad Deal, Sutton notes that one of the major expenses of serving haute vegetables is paying a forager. When it comes to "bespoke" vegetables, Sutton writes: "if farmer's market vegetables are generally 10-20% more expensive than those sold by a national distributor, tailor-made vegetables can easily cost 20% more than farmer's market produce." Alinea chef Grant Achatz says he pays his vegetable vendors some $350,000 per year. Given the cost to restaurants, fine vegetables, Sutton concludes, are a buy.
In a video interview with Bloomberg below, Kostow elaborates on the expenses of preparing artful vegetable dishes. He says: "In terms of the cost of serving vegetables, they require a lot more skill ... I'm shocked that people are still balking at the price of a really nice carrot or whatever it is because they are expensive to grow, they are expensive to prepare, they are expensive to cook." Go, watch:
Video: Chef Kostow on Meadowood's Lofty Vegetable Dishes
· How Haute Vegetables Are Conquering $500 Tasting Menus [Bloomberg]
· Sorry, Folks. Vegetables Are Mad Expensive. [The Bad Deal]
· Chef Kostow on Meadowood's Lofty Vegetable Dishes [Bloomberg]
· All Ryan Sutton Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Restaurant at Meadowood Coverage on Eater [-E-]