Thanks Eater and Dianne de Guzman for covering the launch.
And also San Jose Mercury News' Linda Zarvoral
I didn't grow up in the restaurant business nor were I a chef or cook or waiter or manager of a restaurant. I got into the restaurant industry as a business person. After 10 years, the moniker restauranteur certainly describes me better than any professional title.
Therefore it's always been interesting to me that the most creative chefs and beverage professionals almost always have to open their own brick and mortar locations to feel like they can fully express themselves. We, as consumers, benefit from an incredible range of independently run, creatively driven restaurants.
But it doesn't make sense.
A singer, an actor, a comedian, a visual artist - it's rare to find one of these artist whose goal is to own a physical venue (be it comedy club or theater). Yet, for those who practice the culinary arts, that is often the goal. This certainly is a result of the way that kitchens are run (the chef creates, everyone executes) - so that a talented cook or sous chef feel the need to go off on their own. There they will find the space to express themselves, to train and develop per their vision, and to deliver hospitality in their perspective. This is all fun but...
... running a restaurant is not romantic or creative (per se). A restaurant is a just-in-time factory (i.e. kitchen) and a show room (i.e. dining room). You are managing technicians (cooks) and salespersons/customer service (wait staff) while at the same time ensuring your food doesn't make people sick. It's never the most profitable venture (if one at all) and the physical toll is real.
What Ritual has proved out over the last 2 years - 18 chef events in SF Bay Area - is an important evolution of fine dining. Let's remove the chefs and their team from the physical location (burden) of running a restaurant. Perhaps Ritual will never replace one's 3-star restaurant ... but perhaps the Ritual venues will provide the chef the platform, outlet, growth path for thier team, and income stream. Ritual relieves the pressure to open their 2nd or 3rd (usually more casual) restaurant. Chefs and their team stay focused as artists and artisans.
Chefs going on tour. It's about time! And Ritual, starting in 2024, has created an impressive line up of chefs coming to do shows in California: Odette, Atomix, The Clove Club, Apoiniete... 23+ michelin stars are coming through Los Gatos in 2024!
Congrats to the team at Ritual for innovating along this model!