Travel + Leisure has assigned me four stories on Switzerland, and I’m busy writing about mountains, lakes, villages and cities, all the while thinking about Gunther Kreuther’s new restaurant overlooking Bryant Park. Kreuther, an Alsatian, got known through his great work at The Modern, and this new place, named eponymously, looks even better.
Meanwhile I’ve also been thinking about how home kitchens and many other restaurants have difficulty churning out good food consistently. I thought of something the very wonderful and ebullient Patrick O’ Connell, chef-owner of The Inn at Little Washington, told me in an interview.
He said something like: “If you can get ten dishes right, at home, you’re way ahead.” What he meant was that rather than try to come up with new ideas and new dishes and cook something you ate or read about it, learn ten dishes and do them again and again and again until you make them really delicious.
That’s the basis of regional and national cuisines, and of course history and social and economic circumstances add to or change what’s on the plate. But the idea is to focus: Ingredients, execution, timing.