Fame, Fortune and 2012 New Year's Restaurant Resolutions

by Katherine Sacks with Antoinette Bruno
December 2011

The New Year brings 12 months of new opportunities and challenges: while the economy still has its boxing gloves on, chefs are racing to the finish line to open new successes, and perhaps one or two complete 180s are in store. And after the boom of the holidays, the drawl of January is the bed rest restaurateurs have been wishing for, and a time to reflect on what’s passed and ponder what’s to come. Whether it’s opening a new restaurant, earning those coveted accolades, or building out staff, every chef has a goal for their empire, large or small. As 2012 rolls into a start, here’s what a few chefs and restaurateurs have on the top of their to-do lists.

(Tell us your resolutions in the comments below—but beware, we’ll be keeping a close eye out to see just who keeps to their resolve.)

2012 New Year's Restaurant Resolutions

“I don't have any resolutions because there is no regret. It will be fun to try something new for Kogi in 2012. After three years, I got some new ideas and flavors for the streets.”

2010 LA-San Diego Rising Star Community Chef Roy Choi of Kogi BBQ and A-Frame – Los Angeles, CA
“Since our new restaurant TUYO is located directly on top of the (also new) Miami Culinary Institute in downtown Miami, my New Year's resolution is to do much more mentoring to the culinary students here and everywhere. They are the 'bread and butter' of the future."

Chef Norman Van Aken of Norman’s – Coral Gables, FL
“I have three New Year’s resolutions for this year. I’d like to source high-quality and affordable local dairy products (local butter and milk can cost a fortune). I want to find cooks that can walk the walk: like-minded cooks who everyday want to focus on fundamentals and keep pushing themselves to learn technique. And I want to eat as much good sushi as I possibly can!”

2009 Napa Rising Star Chef Eric Korsh of The Waverly Inn – New York, NY
“Trying to say NO to people! I have a problem saying yes to anything that comes my way! I’d like to be smart with my time and efforts; that is my new approach for the New Year”

Chef Bill Kim of Urban Belly and Belly Shack – Chicago, IL
“To work for myself and remember why I started cooking in the first place.”

Pastry Chef Johnny Iuzzini of Jean Georges – New York, NY
“Today is Red Medicine’s one year anniversary, I’ve take one day off. I’d like to try and double that.”

2010 LA-San Diego Rising Star Pastry Chef Jordan Khan of Red Medicine – Los Angeles, CA
“We will be making all of the vinegar in house from local agriculture products.”

Chef Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen – Baltimore, MD
“Give the Rialto bar a face lift and incorporate some of what I’ve learned through the Harvard Food/Science course into the Rialto menu. And personally, I'd like to increase my speed on a bicycle and cook dinner at home with my family 2 times per week.”

Chef Jody Adams of Rialto – Boston, MA
“To open a bar that has a fine dining component: Roadhouse meets Pierre Gagnaire...To make more pickles; you can never have enough. Pull out pickled blueberries in February and you look cool...To learn how to make cider. We live too close to great apples to let hard cider experiments not happen...To spend more time with my wonderful kids....To garden. Or learn how to garden well. I suck at it...To find a great modern co-packer for conserves and condiments, I keep getting the runaround.”

2007 Atlanta Rising Star Chef Hugh Acheson of Five & Ten – Athens, GA
”Getting Moroccan food a second Michelin star. That's my resolution!”

2007 San Fransisco Rising Star Chef Mourad Lahlou of Aziza – San Fransisco, CA
“One resolution I have is to stash more kegs. We've been tapping some older kegs and have gotten a great response from people getting to drink wild ales and imperial porters with a little down time on them. So I'm going to reorganize the keg room in order to squirrel away more beer so that we always have lots of cellared stuff available.”

Sommelier Jon Langley of DBGB – New York, NY
“I want to continue to lead the charge to help put Austin's culinary landscape on the national map; to grow our restaurant and it's people into another market in Houston as early as January. Personally, I want to be patient and understanding in the realization that the restaurant business is a kinetic fabric; talent comes and goes, and no matter how long or short term your staff's tenor might be. The key is to appreciate and love the process of learning and maturation. Vicarious success just might be the most satisfying.”

Chef Tyson Cole of Uchi – Austin, TX