This week's guest on Special Sauce is chef and school food activist Bill Telepan, who is now at the helm of New York's Oceana Restaurant. Bill has a lot to say about a lot of things, including some particularly insightful observations about why chef-driven neighborhood restaurants across the country are struggling. But he also talks about his mother's reaction to his decision to drop out of college and attend cooking school ("You're kidding, right?"), and why young cooks at a restaurant should think twice before suggesting new dishes for the menu.
We spend some time talking about Wellness in the Schools, the initiative for healthy school food that Bill's been involved with since 2008. The program started in New York, but has since expanded to New Jersey, Florida, and California, and, he notes, it has had a surprising effect on schoolyard bullying.
Bill also shares with me why he'd like Radiohead's Thomas Yorke to be a guest at his last supper, even though Yorke is a vegetarian (Bill loves pork and vegetables equally).
But I suppose the most important lesson Serious Eaters may learn about after listening to our conversation is the importance of doing something you love, day in and day out. Now that's some Special Sauce worth listening to.
You Could Be on Special Sauce
Want to chat with me and our tremendously talented recipe developers? We're accepting questions for Special Sauce call-in episodes now. Do you have a recurring argument with your spouse around the best way to maintain a cast iron skillet? Have you been working on your mac and cheese recipe for the past five years, but can't quite get it right? Does your brother-in-law make the worst lasagna, and you want to figure out how to give him tips? We want to get to know you and solve all your food-related problems. Send us the whole story at [email protected].