Business: Rising Stars and Restaurant Design: It’s All About the Money

Business: Rising Stars and Restaurant Design: It’s All About the Money

Where Chefs Perform: Evoking the Sixth Sense in Kitchen Design

Designer Jimmy Yui discusses the foundations of good kitchen and restaurant design

In this session, Jimi Yui of YuiDesign (who has designed kitchens for 30 years) and Samuel Bradner of The Peregrine Group (who specializes in real estate project management) offered an insider's scoop on working effectively with designers and contractors. "Designers are like haircutters—we can give you what you want, only if you describe what you want with exacting precision," said Yui. The focus of the session was on the three components of building a restaurant from the ground up: quality, money, and time. Yui pointed out that chefs can focus too much on the kitchen, and then his only choice is to fill his dining room with picnic tables. This is where Samuel Bradner comes into play. He guides clients while overseeing the entire project, so the front of the house "matches" the back of the house. Mr. Bradner also brought up a point that chefs sometimes forget: the cost of designing a restaurant is a fraction of other start-up costs, that include plumbing and electrical.

How to Make It Panel

Antoinette Bruno leads the 2011 New York Rising Stars in the How to Make it Panel

Sure, they’re gearing up to serve their winning dishes to hundreds of people at Tuesday’s Rising Stars Revue, but our 2011 New York Rising Stars still found time—an hour and 10 minutes, to be exact—to share their wisdom at the How to Make it Panel at the 2011 ICC. Topics ranged from culinary school and mentoring to Western preconceptions (if Hooni Kim has anything to say about it, Korean food is about to flex its fine dining muscles—garlic, chili, and all). There were strong, but amicable disagreements among our Rising Stars. On the topic of whether to shell out $60,000 for culinary school (it was $10,000 in Jenny McCoy’s day), opinions were sharply divided. Adam Schop of Nuela said that "on a professional level, there’s a big disconnect between the curriculum and the culinary culture." A Voce’s Hillary Sterling said it "builds confidence"—though most everyone agreed that kitchen time, above all, is the best preparation. The takeaways? Travel is tantamount to inspiration; being a mentor means you’re ready to lead; and restaurant ownership is a mixed blessing (and one that not all of our Rising Stars aspire to, though some, apparently, wouldn’t mind a product line).

by Emily Bell and Jeanne Casagrande