Our goal is to present authentic culinary creations from India’s four southern states: Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. The larger goal is to revive the disappearing culinary heritage of these regions.
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I grew up with Colombian food, so I knew the flavors, even though I didn’t know how to cook. At first things didn’t taste right, so I was cooking with my mom on the phone. She’s like, what are you using? How are you doing it? I learned to cook over the phone.
I think one thing is important to us: We want to almost invite people to our home. And although the execution of every step needs to be intentional and perfect, we also want there to be a human quality to it, a really friendly quality, and a fun quality so that people have a good time and enjoy being here—both the employees and the guests.
If you type the word slaughterhouse into a search engine, you get a scroll of Web sites exposing the evils of animal torture, authored mostly by animal rights and vegan apologists. The images of bucking cows and blood-stained pigs confirm your deepest fears about the steak you just ate. But you already knew that, didn’t you? How else did that tail-swishing cow turn into last night’s rib eye? It had to wind up at a slaughterhouse, a place so abhorrent that the word has become synonymous with torture. But you don’t hear “slaughterhouse” in the farmer’s vernacular.
A taberna is a place where people play cards, talk about politics, and sing fado. It’s not a typical restaurant where you come in and someone is only serving food and wine. It has a different atmosphere. Everyone is talking and laughing; you can play chess; you can sit down at a table and talk to someone. It’s like a family restaurant.
I was born in Flint, and then we moved out to the country, to Grand Blanc, where I spent a large part of my childhood. We had a small farm. My father was a bit of a hippie, or wanted to be. We raised chickens, ducks, geese, and rabbits, and every year we had a big garden.
I remember being told as a child to “Keep your head up,” “Watch your step,” “Pay attention to the road,” “Don’t touch that,” and “Be careful.” Those admonitions came to an end when I started eating weeds. Now a simple walk to work, a hike in the woods, or even a stroll on the beach turns into a serious hunt for all things wild and edible. I can’t remember the last time I went on a walk or a hike and just admired the sky, the birds, or the way the leaves blow in the wind. I no longer see normal distractions like billboards, signs, cars, or people.
Yoshinori ishii is a prominent kaiseki chef. Kaiseki is a meal that epitomizes Japanese taste and aesthetics. It is never the same twice, changing with the seasons, the locality, and the chef’s creativity. Ishii has cooked at two fabulous Japanese restaurants: Kitcho, the ultimate kaiseki restaurant in Kyoto, Japan, and Iron Chef Morimoto’s Morimoto in New York City. He is now the chef at Umu in Mayfair, London.
Husband-and-wife team David and Karen Waltuck ran Chanterelle, one of New York City’s most influential restaurants, for thirty years, first in SoHo, then in Tribeca.
In Denmark we’re not so formal, we don’t have an upper class, which is in some ways good. But in Denmark we tend to be withdrawn, so I’ve tried to create a more open atmosphere, to update our way of being.