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An Open Letter to Capital District Chefs

August 10, 2010

Dear Chef:

I could never do what you do.  While I may be a tough critic of restaurants, I also maintain a high level of respect for those who put their hearts and souls into their food.  After all, nobody goes into cooking to get rich.  Most get into it because of their love for food.

Over a year ago I started a project called the FUSSYlittleBLOG, which evolved out of writing restaurant reviews on Yelp.  It is an advertising-free environment whose primary purpose is to elevate food in Albany at all levels of dining.  The focus up until now has been an attempt to raise people’s standards about what should be considered good food.

But I have been fairly criticized for not inviting local chefs into the conversation.

There are a lot of positive things local restaurants are doing with quality ingredients, and I’d like to do my small part to help publicize the good stuff.  So please consider this an invitation.  If you think your restaurant is doing something that is in keeping with the FUSSYlittleBLOG’s mission of promoting the use of high-quality ingredients, let me know.  Send me an email.  Put me on your press release distribution list.  I would love to highlight what you’re doing and help get your efforts out to a few more people.

Here are some examples of the kinds of things I’d love to help promote:
-       A new monthly menu reflecting the changing season
-       The introduction of local grass-fed beef
-       An announcement that farmed Atlantic salmon is coming off the menu
-       The arrival of produce from specific local farms
(e.g., the caprese salad this week features tomatoes from Roxbury Farm)

As a fellow food lover, I’m hoping things like these excite you too.  Not everyone in the local mainstream food media gets as worked up about these higher quality ingredients.  For example, Ruth Fantasia’s recent review of Black Watch completely omitted mentioning the restaurant’s dry-aged steaks.  And even Steve Barnes didn’t think it was news the week that New World Bistro Bar was serving local broccoli, wax beans and Kirby pickles. These are exactly the kinds of things I would love to help support.

Press releases that fit with the editorial direction of the blog will be published in a special category with little editing, and be labeled as such.  Quick emails from you or your staff may be incorporated into larger stories, or published as part of a News of the Week post.  Should a story not fit with the blog’s editorial perspective, I will respond to let you know.

My hope is by both writing about quality ingredients and promoting restaurants that are going the extra mile to put them on the plate, the FUSSYlittleBLOG can offer a small added incentive for local restaurants to try and do more.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards,
Daniel Berman
aka Daniel B.
aka The Profussor

danielb [at] FUSSYlittleBLOG [dot] com

15 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2010 11:06 am

    eeeexcellent

  2. August 10, 2010 11:44 am

    Love it.

    BTW the new Garden Bistro 24 had a wild salmon dish on the specials menu on Friday for $14.

  3. llcwine permalink
    August 10, 2010 12:40 pm

    C – did they specify which river? Copper?

  4. August 10, 2010 6:15 pm

    Much, much, much better than the original draft. I look forward to the response!

  5. Elyse permalink
    August 10, 2010 10:14 pm

    Pretty sure Copper River Salmon is out of season (I think it peaks in the spring?). Also pretty sure it would cost way more than $14. I don’t know how I became such a salmon nerd.

  6. August 11, 2010 10:10 am

    The menu just stated wild salmon. Why does the price need to be more than $14? I’m sure it’s not a huge piece of fish and the chef/owner is going for an inexpensive French Bistro. At $14 it was the most expensive thing on the menu, his hangar steak frites goes for only $11, so I don’t really see why is should cost “way more than $14″.

    • Elyse permalink
      August 11, 2010 10:24 am

      Eh- it’s just the market for Copper River Salmon- it’s a special type of Salmon that you can only get two months out of the year. Does it taste so much better than your standard wild Alaskan salmon? Don’t know- you will have to ask a bigger Salmon nerd than I am. Had no intention of putting down the $14 salmon- heck, any restaurant around here offering affordable wild salmon is a great thing.

      • Chris permalink
        August 11, 2010 4:39 pm

        Yes, sad to see that Salad Creations – a fast casual chain in Clifton Park – can offer wild caught salmon, while some of the top restaurants in the area boast on the menu about their “farm raised Atlantic Salmon” dish for $24. Come on.

  7. Mindy Holland permalink
    August 29, 2010 6:14 pm

    Hi Dan,
    We met at Gates of Heaven’s new member event. I am working on this year’s Jewish Food Festival (to be held March 27, 2011). I am so glad I found out about your blog.

  8. October 13, 2010 1:59 am

    Oh snap my comment got the axe!

  9. speshulk99 permalink
    March 15, 2011 9:55 am

    I can’t believe I literally stumbled into this blog via Table hopping. Having been associated to the “locavore” movement for some 13 years now, my wife and I have severe reservations about fine dining in general. Our usual remark about eating out is, yeah, it all comes off the Sysco Truck. Not meaning to offend anyone, indeed the Sysco Corp., we tend to generalize the rise off all foods coming from the industrial complexes elsewhere. While the trend is small but growing for a restaurant to procure all things local, the pressures of diners like ourselves will perhaps provide an inspiration to local eateries in procuring local. Fresh greens are available at least at Troy Farmer’s Market, Schenectady Greenmarket, this much I do know. The same thing goes for beef, pork and to a limited degree chicken, also buffalo, goat and duck etc.

  10. Matt K permalink
    August 9, 2011 10:11 pm

    I don’t know if you’re still watching the comments on this post, but just had a great dinner at Fifty South in Ballston Spa. Kim Klopstock is the chef up there and is doing a lot of the heavy lifting that you discuss. The restaurant is flawed (the service is almost comically bad) but the food is delicious, unpretentious, and heavily featuring local farms. The menu mentions specific farms (especially Sheldon Farms but also many others).

    Worth a trip across a river to check it out. http://www.fiftysouth.com/

  11. uncle joe permalink
    December 17, 2011 7:13 pm

    re: speshulk99 you so correct about sysco truck–but off on meat source. reliant meat company from green island delivers to 677 prime and dee dees tavern and many many other eating places in capital region. from white table cloth to paper table mat joints and everything in between.

  12. January 11, 2012 11:58 pm

    Hi, This is Kim Klopstock and my friend Matt, so appropriately wrote about my place, fifty south. Though i must say our service has gotten much better…at least I HOPE!!!!! so here is the deal, Matt and his wife came in tonight on a date…and shared with me about your blog and since i love and trust them, here i am.
    WE are very much into the whole farm to table movement,(actually i have been into it for almost 30 years, long before it was the popular thing…) we repurpose, have a compost, give our non meat refuse to a friend who shares it with his two pet pigs and the list goes on. Our meats are grass fed, antibiotic free, and humanely slaughteres, our fish is either wild caught or sustainbly harvested, and our vegetables are sourced as locally as possible. WE try to do as much organic and bio dynamically farmed as possible, have a groovy wine list and love our community.
    Most importantly, we have an amazing group of people who support us, even when we are not perfect, and that is a beautfiul thing. Matt, thanks and i will check this site again. kisses kk http://www.fiftysouth.com

  13. December 11, 2012 9:18 pm

    Excellent!!!

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