NYC chefs go out of town

In November of this year, a new restaurant is scheduled to open in Minneapolis. A restaurant opening may not be anything new for this Midwestern city, but who is opening it is. Chef Gavin Kaysen was the executive chef of the famous New York City restaurant Café Boulud. Boulud is now one of the most successful food meccas of the Big Apple, thanks in part to its former head chef. When Kaysen announced that he would be leaving New York for Minnesota, most chefs and food lovers were shocked at his decision. As most online culinary school students know, New York City is an Eden for rising chefs, filled to the brim with as much culinary talent as stage talent. But Kaysen is not alone in his emigration from the city – many other chefs have chosen to blaze other paths, signaling a possible change in the future of culinary careers.

Minneapolis is Kaysen’s hometown. Many New Yorkers choose to leave the city to offer their children more space or live closer to families, and Kaysen listed himself among this hoard, but some food critics and restaurateurs believe he left for other reasons.

“Strategically, it’s a brilliant thing to do,” Mitchell Davis, executive vice president of the James Beard Foundation, told The New York Times when asked about Kaysen’s move. “I think he is going to be even more embraced and seen in the news.”

Smaller can be better
Smaller cities offer successful chefs the opportunity to set themselves apart and feel more like a big fish in a little pond. When opening a restaurant in New York City, many chefs feel a large amount of pressure from peers and food critics alike to be better than former elite chefs. Freeing themselves of the rat race of kitchen managing, many chefs have found moving elsewhere to be the answer. For example, Peter Serpico of Momofuku Ko and Eli Kulp of Torrisi Italian Specialties moved to Philadelphia, and Sara Kramer of Glasserie moved to Los Angeles.

Not only do chefs find the competition to be less stressful in smaller cities, but they are finding that customers now arrive with more intelligent palettes than was once assumed.

“There’s a lot of other places that are excited to have new restaurants and creative young chefs,” chef Sara Kramer told the source. “Why fight so hard to be in New York?”

With the rise of social media and globalization, populations across the country are seeking food that is not only fresh, but infused with creativity, and New York City chefs are answering their call.

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