For those wondering why Bay Area foodies routinely get so worked up over snide little comments from New York, 7x7 drink editor Jordan Mackay took a stab at the question in the New York Times last week, positing that Bay Area chefs may be a bit paralyzed after 30 years in Alice Waters' shadow. "One of the hardest and one of the most wonderful things about being a chef in San Francisco is that people know the farms," Wexler's Charlie Kleinman told the Times. "'They know who grows what. That’s great, because it makes you stay seasonal." But that also makes chefs timid to alter their prized produce.
But perhaps New York's nastiness stems from the fact that San Francisco trends are catching on there as well. Kleinman pointed out to the Times that the menu at Momofuku Ssam Bar reads like a San Francisco menu. "It's got farms everywhere... and a section of the menu devoted to hams he has handpicked from producers he has personal relationships with and most cherishes." Someday soon New York chefs will surely agree that that's not a bad thing, and San Francisco chefs will give themselves permission to cook something once in a while. And then, as Mackay predicts, "a big hug."
Earlier: Chang to Face San Francisco Chef Squad [Grub Street SF]