Chef Peter Hoffman of Back Forty West found himself sending desperate emails to try and staff his kitchen when his usual Craigslist ads went unanswered. “I began to ask myself, ‘what’s going on, where’s everybody gone?'” In the below installment of NPR’s “The Salt”, reporter Jane Black talks to a variety of culinary professionals to get to the root of a worrisome cook shortage in New York City. What she found is a story as old as the Second Avenue subway rumors: the rent is too damn high.
Not being able to make it on the $10 to $12 an hour that a typical Manhattan cook brings in, many are opting to leave the city for greener pastures, literally. They’ve gone to a nice farm in the country where people will take care of them, and they’ll lead a happier life — just like our childhood cats. They’re also seeking out the ingredients that many citified restaurants claim to be finding close by.
David Levi, who cooked at Perry St in the West Village has moved to Portland, Maine where he plans to open the area’s first 100 percent local, zero waste, fine dining restaurant; a build-out that will cost roughly 1/10th of what it would run him to stay in New York City. There, he plans to forego standby ingredients, like lemons and even sugar, and really, finally, create a locally sourced menu.
Listen to the whole episode below, and then brush up your resume. It sounds like some pretty great restaurants are hiring.
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