Q&A With Chef Srijith Gopinathan Of Campton Place

Not only does Campton Place boast two Michelin stars, but Chef Srijith Gopinathan is the only Indian chef in the nation to have this honor. His innovative take on Cal-Indian cuisine fits nicely in the Taj Campton Place Hotel and complements their take on Cal-Indian hospitality. Don’t expect six different types of naan, but the Indian inflections on California cuisine create some of the more memorable dishes in the Western Hemisphere, such has his signature spice pot. 

Chef Srijith's spice pot. Source: Taj Campton Place Facebook page.

Chef Srijith's spice pot. Source: Taj Campton Place Facebook page.

Chef Srijith gave us a look into what inspires him, his favorite types of cuisine, and his first memory as a chef. 

Renzell: Let’s start at the beginning. What was the first dish you learned to cook?

Chef Srijith Gopinathan:  I remember making my first dish at 6 years old. However, I can’t take much credit for it since I was mostly stirring a pot with a long wooden ladle under the watchful eye of my grandmother. We made savory rice porridge with green lentils and grated coconut for 25 of the farmers harvesting paddy (rice) for us.

R: Describe an average day at Campton Place.

SG: I spend most of my day thinking about food, and the rest collaborating with my team, developing recipes, executing the dishes, and plating the finished product.

R: What inspires you to continue to create new dishes?

SG: I am very inspired by what I see around me everyday: the work done by my peers and coworkers, local market produce, and, of course, my love for eating delicious and unique food.

R: Do you have a favorite ingredient to work with?

SG: This changes every once in a while, but right now coconut is one of my top ingredients.

R: Do you have a favorite dish to cook?

SG: I wouldn't say I have a favorite dish, but I love cooking shellfish.

R: Do you ever venture outside the typical cuisine of Campton Place?

SG: Yes, I do… I love Chinese and Mexican food a lot. Casual Indian street food and as always good pastas at some of super casual Italian joints.

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New York Is Officially Home To The Best Restaurant In The World

You might be surprised to find out there is such a thing as the Best Restaurant in the World. With Michelin 3 star ratings spreading all over the globe, how could there ever be just one? How is it rated? What is taken into account? Who gets to give it such high honor?

Well, believe it or not such a list of the 50 Best Restaurants in the world does exist, and there IS a #1, and it is in New York. A group of elite persona from all over the world gather each year, this time in Melbourne, Australia, to crown a winner. The event has been nicknamed- “prom night for restaurants”- and this year they have chosen Eleven Madison Park as their king.

Chef Daniel Humm sits at the throne with this Michelin star expertise, his French-influenced bistro serves exceptional Greenmarket cuisine that blew the competition out of the water. Chef Daniel has created a dining experience like none we have ever seen before. Located in Manhattan's Flatiron neighborhood, on Madison Avenue between 24th and 25th streets. Eleven Madison Park offers a tasting menu of 11 courses, which lasts around 3 hours, and costs an average of $295 per person. Closed for the summer for renovations (with a temporary location in the Hamptons called EMP Summer House), Eleven Madison Park is reopening next month. Snag your reservation here.

Ambitious food blogger Julian Fang was able to squeeze in a reservation—pre-renovation—and give the 11 course menu a try, and by the looks of it—it was worth every penny. Everything from the decoration to the art deco style interior amazes it’s guests and the careful attention to every detail is well represented in each dish.

The very first thing offered are light amuse-bouches, the bite-sized cheese gougères are served at just the right warm temperature and sprinkled with salt.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

Of course no tasting menu is complete without an excellent wine selection. As the guests enjoyed the cheese gougères they drank the 2006 Arnot-Roberts syrah specially selected by Chef Daniel.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

The wine was presented alongside the round of hors d’oeuvres that were beautifully presented on a long narrow tray. Each one made to cater different tastes for different guests and they did not disappoint.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

A unique take on vegetable texture—you’d love the carrot marshmallow. It’s a playful vision of garden flavors with a different consistency made to make you wonder how it’s made. Next to that you can see the tuna tartar, a beautiful blend of texture and taste.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

For something you can only get at Eleven Madison Park, you can have its famous foie gras. It is first seared, then cured, and made into pudding. On this preparation it was topped with an asparagus gelée. The egg quiche tartlet is probably the easiest to recognize on the tray. It’s morel mushrooms are sure to make your mouthwater.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

By now the wine glasses have emptied or are running low, guests may choose to continue with the wine selection available or mix it up with a Mint Julep. It comes in beautiful gauntlet with mint leaves that are out of this world big.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

Alas, the beginning of the meal arrived with the first basket of bread. The warm delicious rolls were accompanied by two kinds of butter; one made with goat milk and the other with cow milk.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

Presenting the first course, Sterling Royal caviar, was burrowed with spheres of smoked sturgeon and salmon cream.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

Following that is a course starring three ingredients at three temperatures: Santa Barbara sea urchin, custard with green apple, and shellfish ragout. All together they make a decadent, sour, briny, and mysteriously great combination.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

The palat takes a pause with a delicious garden-pea-and-mint lollipop which is presented in a glass vase filled with grass.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

Alongside its imaginative combinations and presentation, Eleven Madison Park prides itself on serving locally grown foods. Thus, the Spring Out of Winter course unites freshly harvested asparagus with jamón ibérico.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

It is immediately followed by another marvelous course—a foie gras torchon that is dedicated to melt on your tongue. Accompanied by tête de cochon, pickled spring vegetables, and horseradish.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

Next up is a supple, buttery Atlantic halibut. Chef Daniel seared it with smoked spring garlic and crayfish.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

Then guests were served a vivid plate of poached Nova Scotia lobster with "young" carrots, ginger, and vadouvan-spiced granola.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

Four individual preparations of Colorado lamb were served with the large, pink, herb-roasted cut in the center of this plate. The lamb ravioli, lamb sausage, lamb short rib, and sweetbreads made a delicious companion and set the stage for the main event.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

Delivered personally by the star of the meal is the Muscovy duck stuffed with lavender and glazed with honey. The manager even takes the time to carve the bird so everyone can watch in amazement and prepare their tastebuds. Only the very prime morsels were served alongside asparagus, ramps, and strawberries.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

No French dinner is complete without a little cheese, so a fromage cart pushed by a server pulls up tableside. The server then distributes out a selection of artisanal cheeses based on the diner's preferences. The cheese is wonderfully paired with raisin walnut breadsticks.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

On to the final stage: dessert. First up is the Soda Pop, which literally pops at every bite with the help of Pop Rocks. It is composed with tangerine foam frozen with liquid nitrogen.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

Not your normal milk and cookies, the Milk and Chocolate course uses dehydrated chocolate mousse, combined with caramelized white chocolate sorbet, browned milk solids, and other savory cocoa textures.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

Last but not least guests are offered the traditional French Macaron with a wide variety of flavors. They came in pink peppercorn with caramel; chocolate banana; peanut butter; coconut with chocolate ganache; Meyer lemon; toasted sesame with green tea; and grapefruit with fennel.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

Chef Daniel sends anyone who dines at Eleven Park Madison with a box of jellies as a parting favor.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

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Philly Restaurant Week

Need to try a new Renzell restaurant, but can't shell out the cash? Good news - Philly Restaurant Week is finally here! From now until September 19th, grab a three-course dinner for only $35 per person or a three-course lunch for $20. Click below to snag a res now and check out one of the 32 Renzell Restaurants participating below! 

Aldine's entree for Restaurant Week - pork coppa with barley risotto, fennel, & plum mostarda

Aldine's entree for Restaurant Week - pork coppa with barley risotto, fennel, & plum mostarda

Renzell Takes Hollywood

Hollywood has long been the home for movies and TV, yet most rely on sets and sound stages. Few tourists realize that many of the restaurants they dine at after they tour the studios are home to some of their favorite scenes. Check out the list of Renzell restaurants that have been featured on the screen. 

1. Little Dom’s — We Bought a Zoo

little doms.jpg

Benjamin (Matt Damon) avoids this 'cafe' as it became a constant reminder of his late wife; but *SPOILER* he is finally able to go at the end of the film with his kids.  
 

2. The Bazaar by José Andrés  Entourage

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Toward the end of the series, Vince (Adrian Grenier) meets Vanity Fair writer Sophia (Alice Eve) at this restaurant. 
 

3. Nobu  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

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Although originally filmed at the L'Orangerie, the space now houses the infamous sushi house Nobu. And—lucky for us—the layout remains relatively similar to the scene shot in Ferris Bueller. 

 

4. WP24  Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

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Brandi and Paul get into an epic screaming match in classic Real Housewives fashion—all while dining at the famous restaurant from Wolfgang Puck. 

5. n/naka  Chef’s Table

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Chef Niki Nakayama has come to be seen as one of the only female masters of kaiseki in the world. Her episode on the Netflix documentary follows her story and the hard work that goes into her LA restaurant n/naka. 

Renzell On The Big (And Small) Screen

From Friends to The Devil Wears Prada and everything in between, NYC has been the go-to backdrop for loads of TV shows and movies. Iconic scenes for the big screen and the small screen have been filmed at classic landmarks all around the city, attracting tourists everywhere...including restaurants. Renzell Restaurants have been the place for some historic scenes—check out the list of Renzell Restaurants featured in some of our favorite TV shows and movies. 

1. Craft  The Devil Wears Prada

craft.jpeg

While Andy (Anne Hathaway) is trying to get a break from her crazy work schedule—and her (even crazier) boss Miranda (Meryl Streep)—she grabs dinner at this classic Tom Colicchio restaurant with her dad. 

2. Carbone  Master of None

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Dev (Aziz Ansari) meets celebrity chef Jeff Pastore (Bobby Cannavale) at this high-end restaurant sampling dishes from fresh mozzarella to beef carpaccio.  

3. The Modern  Sex and the City

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Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) reveals her engagement to the rest of the girls at this Michelin-star restaurant inside the Museum of Modern Art. 

4. Mission Chinese  Master of None

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While dissecting the Eminem film 8 Mile, Dev (Aziz Ansari), Arnold (Eric Wareheim), and Denise (Lena Waithe) dine at this popular Chinese restaurant by Danny Bowien. 

5. Eleven Madison Park  Sex and the City

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Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) takes Big (Chris Noth) to—arguably—New York's most famous restaurant (also, currently ranked as the World's Best Restaurant). 

6. Minetta Tavern  Mad Men

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Abe (Charlie Hofheimer) takes Peggy (Elizabeth Moss) to this long-time establishment, which has been a MacDougal Street institution since 1937. 

7. Del Posto  It’s Complicated

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Jane (Meryl Streep) and Jake (Alec Baldwin) grab a drink at their 'hotel' bar, which is actually filmed inside this high-end Italian restaurant from Mario Batali. 

8. Blue Hill  Chef’s Table

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The hit first season of Chef's Table features an episode following Dan Barber—of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns—who has become known as a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement. 

9. The Little Owl — No Reservations

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This film ends with Nick (Aaron Eckhart), Kate (Catherine Zeta Jones), and Zoe (Abigail Breslin) opening their own bistro in what is actually home to The Little Owl. 

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World's Hottest Chili Pepper Is So Spicy It's Lethal

Human beings have always tried to expand our borders, go further than the last, and essentially be better and bolder. Take for example, the race to space, America vs. Russian intelligence for the moon. Advances in science and civilization have always been about competition.

Food is no stranger to these sort of gatherings and competitions. For years humans have gone head to head against each other to see who could eat the most, the fastest, and now we have added taste. I’m not entirely sure when we became obsessed with eating spicy food but at one point, I think we took it too far.

I am not referring to the spicy food that comes in light sauces like BBQ or salsa. I am talking about the tongue numbing, roof of your mouth burning, forget about having taste buds ever again- kind of condiments that really leaves you wondering, was that really worth it?

Long gone are the days where a simple hot dog eating contest would suffice this void that spicy chili peppers have now filled. In the spirit of keeping things new and exciting there is a small population of people brave enough to put their mouths through this sort of… torture. But even they have to draw the line somewhere, and this newfound KILLER chili might be it.

I say KILLER because I mean it quite literally, this chili pepper is so hot it could very well murder you. This chile, dubbed Dragon’s Breath, puts the previously “hottest chili ever” and it’s cousin the habanero to damn shame. Cultivated by one Mike Smith in North Wales, Dragon’s Breath, ranks a whopping 2.48 million on the Scoville scale. The Carolina Reaper, is measured at 2.2 million. And if you’re anything like me and have no idea what those numbers mean- military-grade pepper spray is measured at a cool 2 million.

OK, maybe you don’t scare easily with numbers, maybe you’re more of a visual learner- not a problem. Dragon’s Breath is in fact so hot that it has not been consumed by any human mouth yet because that 2.48 million amount of capsaicin could torch your airways, causing them to close up and you’d go straight into anaphylactic shock, so yeah just picture that.

Just in case you thought chilis were made solely for human consumption, let me be the first to disappoint you, Dragon’s Breath was created to help aid anyone who may be allergic to anesthetics. According to Smith, the pepper is literally so hot it can be used to numb the skin. Scientifically speaking, this is a breakthrough for chili cultivation, so we have that to applaud.

Delectable Discounts for Dallas Restaurant Week

Want an amazing meal for an even better deal? Dallas Restaurant Week begins today, and from August 7 - 26 restaurants are offering great prix fixe plates throughout the city. Check out the 23 Renzell restaurants participating below, and click the link to make a reservation today!  

Happy dining! 

Bulgarian Feta and Pomegranates at Canary By Gorji for restaurant week

Bulgarian Feta and Pomegranates at Canary By Gorji for restaurant week

Bargains for Boston Restaurant Week

Looking for good food on a budget? Boston Restaurant Week is here, and from August 6-11 and August 13-18, restaurants all over the city are offering delicious prix fixe lunch and dinner menus for an amazing deal. Check out the 8 Renzell restaurants participating below by clicking the links and make a reservation today! 

Happy dining! 

Sportello's tagliatelle for Restaurant Week

Sportello's tagliatelle for Restaurant Week

Delicious Deals for NYC Restaurant Week

Dying to try a Renzell restaurant, but need to save money? Good news - NYC Restaurant Week has officially begun. From now through August 18th, you can choose from almost 400 of the best restaurants in the city, offering three-course prix fixe dining deals for both lunch ($29) and dinner ($42). Check out the 17 Renzell Restaurants participating in Restaurant Week below, and click the link to make a reservation today! 

Happy dining! 

Tune In For Free Music

Complete a survey for any two of the restaurants on the list below between August 1 and August 15 and earn a FREE month of Spotify Premium.* You can click on each restaurant below for more details, to make a reservation, or to take your survey!

Happy Dining!


Not A Member?

*Limit three per member during the promotional period. Must be completed between August 1 and August 15. 

“Vegan” Is The New Black: A Look Into The Fastest Growing Food Movement In The World

In the last few years a new trend in cuisine has taken over the way chefs cook, the way they choose ingredients, and ultimately how all of us eat. It’s more of a lifestyle than a diet choice but veganism is the new black. Some people wonder why? Why change the way humans have lived for thousands and thousands of years? Well, ultimately it’s because we are civilized enough to know better.

Source: Minimalist Baker.

Source: Minimalist Baker.

Bringing a vegan to dinner used to be a huge annoyance for anyone at the table, specially the chef, who for years largely considered vegan sort of a joke for fine dining. However, like with most things, time has made vegan cuisine not only more popular but delicious. We are currently in this revolutionary way of cooking that maybe - just maybe vegan dishes can taste similarly, if not better, than their traditional counterparts.

This has mostly affected the food industry because of the cruel treatment of animals and intensive factory farming to get what chefs need, the people demand, and at the large consumption that we gobble it all in.

Source: Diet. 

Source: Diet. 

Chefs do agree on one thing, a succession of global issues have plagued animal and fish production, such as bird flu, mad cow disease, cancer links with cured meats and links between some animal fats and heart disease. Not to mention the dangers of foie gras production, excessive hormone use in feed and over-fishing. All these things have decreased the quality of meals they prefer to serve.

One country is really leading the race on turning over for the new vegan leaf on foods, Australia. That’s right, the land down under is officially the third fastest growing market in the world for vegan foods. Vegan-labelled food was valued at $135.9m in 2015 but it has since exploded to $153m in 2016, according to research by Euromonitors International. A big part of that has to do with those choosing to first cut off all dairy products from their diet.

Source: The Journal. 

Source: The Journal. 

Another big part of that increase in value has to do with a new found demand in plant-based cuisine. Top restaurants throughout the world have moderated their menus to offer a new range of variety for those vegan or vegetarian. In the U.S. Eleven Madison Park, Del Posto, Beyond Sushi, and Blue Hill, in Italy the famous Osteria Francescana, have all been happily dishing out new and creative menus for the trend. At Momofuku Nishi in New York, David Chang’s meat-free burger that looks, tastes, and even bleeds like meat. 

Europe is even jumping on the bandwagon, in London the raw vegan menu at Nama in Notting Hill, is all the new rave, Vanilla Black has a vegan fine dining menu crowds seem to flock to, and the vegan degustation at Lyle’s in London’s East End is incredibly popular.

Source: Fine Dining Lovers. 

Source: Fine Dining Lovers. 

Even the fancy chefs in Paris have accommodated their lavish meals to better serve the vegan/vegetarian diet. 3 star Michelin rated L'Arpège and it’s chef Alain Passard, have announced a sort of “golden age of vegetables” in France. Alongside Passard, chef Alain Ducasse have spawned vegetable driven menus, which is a big deal considering how they can’t let go of using butter and therefore not fully vegan. But the point is they are trying!

Source: Peta. 

Source: Peta. 

It is, however, another city in Europe that capitalizes on all that is vegan, Berlin. There are reportedly 80,000 vegans living in Berlin and the city does well to satisfy the hunger of all of them. One way to look at it- 10% of Berlin’s population says, “Hold the bratwurst sausage.”

As good as this all sounds for eating out and not being that complicated vegan person at the table, we also have to consider those of us who are too busy for every meal to be a great vegan delicacy prepared by a famous chef. Good news is, in Australia, vegan fast food is also picking up traction and gaining popularity. Companies such as Subway, Domino’s, Nando’s and Go Sushi have began offering vegetarian and vegan menu options. And for those who like to cook at home and want to learn how to prepare vegan dishes, there are shops solely dedicated to your needs. No more looking at confusing labels, long lists of ingredients, and spending hours in the grocery store avoiding the deli department.

Source: Fine Dining Lovers. 

Source: Fine Dining Lovers. 

Shops such as The Cruelty Free Shop offer a number of products to cater to any one’s vegan/vegetarian needs. The company currently only has stores in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, offering more than 3500 vegan products, including 50 vegan cheeses for sale. One thing that really stands out from this trend is that people who aren’t exactly tied to the lifestyle or diet of being a vegan will buy vegan products solely because they are stated as such. Seems like vegan is the new black.

 However, unlike most trends, this one comes with a cause. Yes, it may seem like going vegan is simply the cool new thing to do but when you really break it down, the more people that hop on this trend the better. Unlike other trends when too many people do it and we grow tired of it, this one is here to stay because people are starting to care. More research, and therefore understanding, of the environmental cost of meat production, including its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, and the issue of agricultural run-off, have made this trend irresistible.

Just Keep Spinning

Complete a survey for any four of the restaurants on the list below between July 16 and August 15 and earn a FREE SoulCycle class.* You can click on each restaurant below for more details, to make a reservation, or to take your survey!

Happy Dining!


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*Limit one per member during the promotional period. Must be completed between July 16 and August 15. 

Coast to Coast, Korean Cuisine Is Coming

From David Chang’s Ssam Bar Burritos to his Nike collab, Korean food has become the newest food trend we can’t get enough of. Although there are variations in vibe and experience, there is an undeniable rise of Korean restaurants aspiring to offer their guests elements of a traditional, family-style cuisine.

In order to provide the full Korean barbecue experience, chefs will grill the meat table-side or allow the patrons to barbecue it themselves. Restaurants such as Chosun Galbee in Los Angeles and Trove in Seattle pride themselves not just on their delicious food, but on the quality of the experience as well. And at Parachute in Chicago, your attitude is considered part of the experience: “If you are grumpy, pouty, crabby or just plain mean, this may not be the place for you. We look forward to serving you with all of our hearts and a smile.” It’s all about sharing a quality meal in a quality atmosphere.   

Cote, New York. Photo by: Eater.

Cote, New York. Photo by: Eater.

In addition to grilling together, diners are encouraged to eat family style, sharing multiple dishes with each other—the way many Korean chefs grew up. Simon Kim, co-owner of recently opened Cote in New York, said in an interview with Eater that his true inspiration comes not from the chefs around him, but from his grandparents. Kim along with many other Korean chefs are fulfilling their dreams by opening restaurants in which they showcase their interpretations of Korean cuisine. Among them is the married couple, Rachel Yang and Seif Chirichi, who started Relay Restaurant Group in Seattle. Their four Korean inspired restaurants Joule, Trove, Revel, and Revelry, each differ in vibe and menu, so you can get whatever Korean cuisine experience you are looking for!

Trove, Seattle. Photo: by Alex Garland.

Trove, Seattle. Photo: by Alex Garland.

Many of these Korean restaurants continue to expand their horizons by offering places for guests and chefs to have unique experiences. Relay Restaurant Group’s Revelry preserves the basics of their other restaurant, Revel—characterized by comfort food and a happy atmosphere—yet, with a more extensive cocktail menu, longer hours, and late night snacks. Similarly, Cote in New York is opening a secondary space below the restaurant, called Undercote, which will have fun lights, music, and drinks. In an interview with Eater, Kim describes it as their “playground” that will offer “Korean street food on steroids,” an attractive option for patrons looking for a fun atmosphere to enjoy exciting food and drink.

Each chef may have a different history, yet they all share the common aspiration to offer great hospitality and an authentic, genuine experience. The great food is just a bonus! Korean cuisine has been around forever, yet it’s exciting to see it reinvented and become increasingly popular in the states. So, what’s next for Korean cuisine? Only time will tell, but make sure to check out Hanjan and Jungsik as well.

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Meet The Man That Has Only Eaten At 3 Star Michelin Restaurants Since 2004

If you ask any professional foodie what their dream job would be, they would probably tell you they are already living it. But what tops that? Well, professional foodie, Andy Hayler can tell you. Given that his experience has been enough to deem him worthy of a guest seat on the judge’s panel on the U.K.’s MasterChef: The Professionals. With his extensive resume you can’t really be surprised.

Source: Business Insider Australia. 

Source: Business Insider Australia. 

Back in 2004, Andy was traveling all over Europe for work, and like many businessmen he had time to kill between meetings and such. So Andy decided to properly expand his palate and only eat at 3 Michelin stars rated restaurants. It was then that the hobby of being a foodie became an obsession for the former general manager of Information Management at Royal Dutch Shell.

Of course at the time this was a feasible goal given that there were only 49 restaurants at the time and all located in Europe. In 2012 that number doubled when 102 restaurants were rated with the prestigious 3 stars- since 2016, there are 111. Everywhere from Hayler’s hometown of London to Asia, Japan, North and South America, and Australia are all home to fabulous dining experiences that Andy tries his best to keep up with.

Source: Business Insider Australia.

Source: Business Insider Australia.

Andy is now a food critic for the Elite Traveler and reviews restaurants for them and his own personal website, Andy Hayler’s Restaurant and Hotel Guide. Andy does not judge his dining experiences lightly either, he gives them a fair review and has a strong opinion on whether or not the establishment deserves the high regard. Of course he isn’t completely prejudice, Andy also has dined at 2 and 1 star Michelin restaurants, and according to him the ratings all have to do with the food not the decoration.

“There was a myth among chefs that you had to have incredibly expensive glassware, the best crockery, and they’d invest in all these things. But over the last 10 years, you’ll see restaurants where they are not the grandest restaurants and still have three stars. It’s just the best food on the planet. If it gets three stars, it should be a pinnacle of cuisine. And when you take the best of those three-star restaurants, it is.”

However, per Andy there are different levels within the 3 star rating, there’s the bottom of the category, which in his opinion- which really deserve only two stars, there’s the upper segment, which are the ones that absolutely deserve the 3 stars, but in the middle… Well, I’ll let Andy describe it.

“In the middle you’ve got some very good food, but they’re not quite as good as the ones at the top. I think a place like Schloss Berg in Germany or Alinea in Chicago would be in that upper class. Those are the ones to me that really stand out.”

Source: Business Insider Australia.

Source: Business Insider Australia.

No matter the rating they may have in common, Michelin star restaurants differ from each other throughout the world, and according to Andy Hong Kong is really taking over the brand right now. It was a sushi restaurant in Tokyo with a secret location in a multi-story car park that took him the most by surprise, Sushi Saito.

“You literally walk in and walk past the barrier, and there’s what looks like a janitor’s closet to the right. You walk through that door and you’re suddenly in the best sushi restaurant in Tokyo. It only has seven seats, and it’s been rated #1 in Japan for ages. I’d go back there more often if I could get a reservation.”

However, he thinks that it is Germany that has the strongest Michelin establishments in the world. Sadly, the place where Andy has had “the best meal ever” was a restaurant named Jamin in Paris, but it has since been closed. His second pick is Ledoyen, which is also in Paris, Andy claims there’s a dish there named spaghetti but the name does it no justice.

 

Source: Business Insider Australia.

Source: Business Insider Australia.

Like many foodies, Andy dines at his own expense, which obviously does not come cheap. The most expensive meal he has ever had was at a New York based restaurant named Per Se, a wine pairing dinner experience there costs about $800 a head. The amount he spends a year depends on how many establishments he decides to visit, prices vary all over the world.

Andy isn’t one to shy away from the kitchen, when he isn’t eating glorious meals and having the best dining experiences in the world, he likes to cook and like many of us, loves a good pizza. However, you won’t find any frozen meals in his fridge.

Need A Ride?

Complete a survey for any two of the restaurants on the list below between July 9 and July 31 and earn a $15 Lyft coupon code.* You can click on each restaurant below for more details, to make a reservation, or to take your survey!

Happy Dining!


Not A Member?

*Limit three per member during the promotional period. Must be completed between July 9 and July 31. 

Impress Your Guests With These 15 Cookbooks

Dying to try some Renzell restaurants in other cities? Lucky for you, many of our restaurants have cookbooks that allow you to try to cook some of their incredible dishes at home. Below are 15 cookbooks from Renzell restaurants: 12 that we already love, and 3 that we can’t wait to see!

Del Posto (New York)

Del Posto (left); @delposto (right)

Del Posto (left); @delposto (right)

Impress your guests with this decadent dessert spread.

Get it here.

 

Battersby (New York)

Battersby (left); @battersbybk (right)

Battersby (left); @battersbybk (right)

You’ll never have to crave Battersby’s pollack with white asparagus and sabayon ever again with this cookbook.

Get it here.

 

Mission Chinese (New York)

Try your hand at Mission Chinese’s iconic chilled lamb dumpings with tehina and lamb geleé.

Get it here.

 

The Publican (Chicago, September 19, 2017)

The Publican (left); @publicanchicago (right)

With this cookbook, you won’t need to sit at The Publican’s communal tables to enjoy their famously delicious food.

Get it here.

 

Benu (San Francisco)

Benu (left); Benu (right)

Benu (left); Benu (right)

Your guests will surely be asking for the recipe for these simple but utterly satisfying Lobster Coral Xao Long Bao.

Get it here.

 

Atelier Crenn (San Francisco)

Atelier Crenn (left); @atelier.crenn (right)

Tired of your regularly prepared meat? Try Atelier Crenn's elegant foraged flower and herb topped wagyu.

Get it here.

 

State Bird Provisions (San Francisco, October 24, 2017)

From simple (or at least, less intimidating) dishes like avocado filled with toasted buckwheat to intricate poppyseed beef tongue pastrami pancakes, State Bird Provisions’ new cookbook will be sure to teach and impress.

Get it here.

 

Gjelina (Los Angeles)

Gjelina (left); @gjelinarestaurant (right)

Impress your guests with this tasteful marinated anchovy, fennel & Fresno chili. Bon appetit!

Get it here.

 

Osteria Mozza (Los Angeles)

Mozza (left); @osteriamozza (right)

Mozza (left); @osteriamozza (right)

You can now finally make that exquisite baby kale salad with smoked egg, crouton, and caper vinaigrette.

Get it here.

 

Crossroads (Los Angeles)

Crossroads (left); @crossroadskitchen (right)

Never forget the 4 p’s: porcini, parsnips, pearl onions, and port.

Get it here.

 

Lark (Seattle)

Lark (left); @larkseattle (right)

Lark (left); @larkseattle (right)

Experiment with this tasteful burrata with cipollini agrodolce, radicchio, and pomegranate.

Get it here.

 

Rasika (DC, October 10, 2017)

Rasika (left); @rasikarestaurant (right)

Rasika (left); @rasikarestaurant (right)

Level up your appetizer game with these tandoori starters.

Get it here.

 

Miller Union (Atlanta)

Miller Union (left); @millerunionatl (right)

Miller Union (left); @millerunionatl (right)

Stop drooling over this beautiful nettle and ricotta ravioli and start making it!

Get it here.

 

Zahav (Philadelphia)

Zahav (left); @zahavrestaurant (right)

Zahav (left); @zahavrestaurant (right)

Take a stab at making these crispy potatoes with kale chermoula and saffronella cheese.

Get it here.

 

Vedge (Philadelphia)

Vedge (left); @vedgerestaurant (right)

Vedge (left); @vedgerestaurant (right)

Replicate this delicious vegetarian spread to impress both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.

Get it here.

 

Never be without your favorite dishes again! Get these cookbooks in your kitchen as soon as possible--your guests will be patiently (or perhaps not so patiently) waiting.

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The Next Big Food City Has Cannabis Dinners

Denver has long been on the tips of foodies’ tongues when discussing the “next big food city,” but the Mile High City may now be able to officially claim that title. With four James Beard Award nominations this year and a surprising—or maybe not so surprising—penchant for innovation, the Denver dining scene is about to explode.

Source: Frasca Food & Wine. 

Source: Frasca Food & Wine. 

Holding its own among even the most pretentious foodies, Denver is home to a number of award-winning restaurants such as Frasca Food & Wine, Rioja, Mercantile Dining & Provision, and Acorn. here is no shortage of dining options in the Mile High City, which ranks eleventh in restaurants per capita (222.73 restaurants per 100,000 residents) and second in breweries per capita (7.85 breweries per 100,000 residents).

But the real magic of the Denver food scene lies in its ability to evolve quickly and without a hindering sense of vanity. Unlike bigger and more established food towns, Denver isn’t tied down by a sense of convention or expectation, allowing them to trade in the pomp for a more offbeat, authentic, and creative food scene.

Denver’s temperate climate, and it’s setting on the edge of the plains, makes its farm to table ethos more a product of its environment than of picking up on the prevailing trend. Restaurants continue to partner with local farmers and vendors to serve up meals to a growing demographic hungry for a locavore environment.

Denver is surrounded by rural farmland, enabling restaurateurs and chefs to easily source their ingredients. At Panzano in downtown Denver, executive chef Elise Wiggins has partnered with nearby Bear Mountain Ranch, which gives her entire animals rather than specific cuts. Some places take the farm ethos even further: Chef Max MacKissock—now at Bar Dough—started his own farm while at The Squeaky Bean.

While Denver’s restaurants still seek sustainable ingredients, the food world has begun exploring a new trend, which Denver has more than fully embraced: Pot dinners.

Source: Mason Jar Event Group (Lisa Siciliano, Dog Daze Photo).

Source: Mason Jar Event Group (Lisa Siciliano, Dog Daze Photo).

A little over three years ago, Colorado implemented the legalization of recreational marijuana. This past November, Denver residents voted to allow weed in restaurants and bars. With, ahem, the approval of the neighborhood. This new law permits a BYOW (bring your own weed) scenario, but top chefs are starting to employ the legalization in more creative ways outside the confines of their restaurants.

Source: Blackbelly. 

Source: Blackbelly. 

Elaborate weed dinners are the next big thing in Denver dining. Chef Hosea Rosenberg, Top Chef winner and owner of Boulder’s Blackbelly empire, has hosted several of events with Mason Jar Event Group. On the event website, the dinners are described as “an evening of lux cannabis culture, dining, music and the finest offerings of the Colorado High Life.” For each, Hosea creates an incredible gourmet menu, complete with marijuana pairings, in various forms. Mason Jar Event Group also works with Chef Jamey Fader of Lola to put together these events.

While a vibrant food scene is nothing new to Denver, the legalization of pot has finally given it the attention it deserves. Compared to the extravagant innovation and competition in cities like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, Denver has often been overlooked by the larger food community. But the city’s creative adoption of pot has made Denver a destination for foodies. It  has become a sort of new frontier for food innovation.

You Had Me At Hello

Hospitality is something you only seem to know when you feel it. It’s difficult to articulate. Less than a third of the high-end restaurant experience is spent actually eating, which is why hospitality is so important. Restaurants are not in the food business, they are in the hospitality business.

Waiters and smiles and someone to help with your coat are all part of the bigger picture (hospitality is, after all, in the details). Personal connections with guests are imperative to fostering hospitality, but it isn’t just one or two interactions; it’s an atmosphere. But nothing drives the overall ethos more than a perfect hello.

A post shared by Atera Restaurant (@ateranyc) on

Here's what a few restaurants had to say about saying hello and goodbye to their guests:

Saying Hello

“So many things can happen during that first exchange. A simple hello can not only convey appreciation but it can show the guest that we are there to attend to your needs from the moment they walk.  Are you on a time crunch? Is there a special need for seating that you have?  A birthday or special occasion you want us to recognize?  If our welcome message is attentive, warm and with dedication to your visit, the more comfortable the guest can be in truly asking for what they want out of the experience.”
--Jon McDaniel, beverage director, Acanto (#7 in hospitality in Chicago)

“Every guest that walks in the door is unique and we want to provide them with a unique experience. It’s more important for our staff to greet each guest in a way that matches the experience they’re expecting.”
--Xandre Borghetti, general manager, Blue Hill (#7 in hospitality in New York)

“It is always important to greet with a smile and welcoming atmosphere no matter what time in service or how busy the restaurant might be. We always try to vary our greeting and to personalize the experience. We have a number of regular guests who we like to welcome back to the restaurant or greet by name. We may acknowledge that someone has noted a special occasion for the evening as part of the greeting, for example letting them know that we have a nice table set up for their anniversary.”
--Sue Lim, assistant general manager, Monsieur Benjamin (#6 in hospitality in San Francisco)

“At the best restaurants a good greeting is expected. Ironically, it often times often goes unnoticed. But people will always remember a bad greeting.”
--Xandre Borghetti, general manager, Blue Hill (#7 in hospitality in New York)

“That first impression, and a great greeting, is absolutely critical to the identity of a restaurant. It shows we understand how to set a tone for the experience: you will be appreciated, welcomed, cared for, and your presence cherished by the staff. That first impression indicates that the restaurant has created a culture of hospitality that will be evident in every interaction throughout your meal.”
--Jon McDaniel, beverage director, Acanto (#7 in hospitality in Chicago)

Source: Monsieur Benjamin. 

Source: Monsieur Benjamin. 

All About the Feels

“A welcoming message is more about imparting a feeling than information. I am inviting them in, and letting them know I am receptive to whatever they want to tell me about what they are looking for in their dining experience, whether a quick bite at the bar, or a leisurely multi-course dinner.”
--Sue Lim, assistant general manager, Monsieur Benjamin (#6 in hospitality in San Francisco)

"We have a very small crew and we spend a lot of hours together. We are super comfortable with each other and within our restaurant. It is the same five people working the floor any given night. The bond we share and our familiarity in our space make it really natural for us to welcome guests to our home.”
--Matthew Abbick, general manager, Atera (#1 in hospitality in New York)

“When someone seems genuinely happy to see you, and projects warmth and personal care from the very first interaction, it really sets the tone for the whole experience—you are immediately reassured that you will be well taken care of. Conversely, a negative first impression can be incredibly difficult to shake off, even when followed up by excellent service in the dining room.”
--Sue Lim, assistant general manager, Monsieur Benjamin (#6 in hospitality in San Francisco)

“We always try to remember is that each greeting or welcome message can be interpreted very differently depending on the guest. Being flexible and reading the guest can help.”
--Xandre Borghetti, general manager, Blue Hill (#7 in hospitality in New York)

“Giving a consistent approach to each guest is really important to how we operate.  We are in the business of creating regulars; which can mean once a year or 5 times a week.  We want your first impression to be our appreciation and enthusiasm for your visit, as if you were coming over to a friend’s house or, in the case of Acanto, like you were visiting your Nonna who is just so happy to welcome you into her home and her kitchen!”
--Jon McDaniel, beverage director, Acanto (#7 in hospitality in Chicago)

"Michael Stein our DJ/Doorman is awesome with remembering our regulars' favorite bands, wedding songs, etc. He times them into his playlists and is standing by at that moment when they recognize their tunes with his warm smile that says 'this one is for you'.”
--Mattew Abbick, general manager, Atera (#1 in hospitality in New York)

A post shared by Acanto (@acantochicago) on

Adios!

“How a guest leaves is an indicator of the overall experience, which drives return visits. Someone who responds to our goodbye with their own enthusiasm and thanks is someone we may likely see again. And it is important to punctuate the meal with a final goodbye and thanks, whether from their server as the guest gets up, or the host or manager as they get to the door.”
--Sue Lim, assistant general manager, Monsieur Benjamin (#6 in hospitality in San Francisco)

“Any restaurant can grill a good hamburger, cook some pasta, or make a salad, but it is the staff and the experience which brings people back time and time again. We hear from our guests on a daily basis that they love coming back because of how they feel when they enter and how they talk about the experience when they leave. It’s a culture that we have created in our restaurants from our owner to our bussers and everyone in between.”
--Jon McDaniel, beverage director, Acanto (#7 in hospitality in Chicago)

“It goes without saying that if a guest leaves feeling extremely happy and comfortable they are more likely to return. Some of this is out of the control of the restaurant—someone may simply be having a bad day—but there's always an opportunity to turn things around and change someone's experience!”
--Xandre Borghetti, general manager, Blue Hill (#7 in hospitality in New York)