Restaurant Embraces Waste-Free Trend

In the United States and around the world, dining out is a common luxury. Getting to savor creative dishes, discovering new foods and enjoying the atmosphere of a restaurant all together make for a memorable time.

 A downside to eating out: food waste. In the United States alone, about 11.4 million tons of food is wasted each year. That staggering number has opened the eyes of chefs and home cooks to practice zero-waste cooking. 

 This up-and-coming trend led three chefs in Helsinki, Finland to open up a restaurant dedicated to waste-free cooking. Restaurant Nolla, located in Helsinki’s Design District, combines Finnish cooking with the roots of the founders and chefs, Albert Franch Sunyer, Carlos Henriques, and Luka Balac. 

Restaurant Nolla prides itself on using fresh and well-kept ingredients. 

Each dish created is carefully crafted to maximize every piece of each ingredient. Parts of an item that can’t be utilized are composted. Restaurant guests witness this process as the composter is located in the main dining area, showcasing what the restaurant is all about. Although utilized, the composter is not used as a garbage can. Before each item is tossed away, it is weighed and analyzed using a waste management software. Data is collected, what was thrown out, who threw it away and why, and is used to help improve the restaurants practices. 

The Restaurant Nolla team. 

The composter sits in the dining room. 

Nolla is a restaurant without a trash bin. You cannot find any single use plastic here — no plastic packaging, no cling film, no vacuum bags, no foil,” says Sunyar, head chef of Restaurant Nolla, “Every detail from staff clothing and napkins to tableware has been thought of. Even the gift cards are made of compostable paper that has poppy seeds in them.”  

Food is handled in a special way to ensure that Restaurant Nolla remains a waste-free establishment. From the way the food is delivered right down to how it’s stored, no part of the process was disregarded. 

We have created a box system for vegetables, fish and meat with local producers,” says Sunyar. “The boxes travel back and forth to prevent any packaging waste. We are very strict with this rule. If something comes in a non-reusable packaging, it is sent back to the supplier. No exceptions. This is the only way to make sure that people understand our beliefs and respect our practices.”

All parts of rhubarb.

Beans and crudo. 

Ice cream, berries and honey. 

Sturgeon Pil Pil.

Food is fermented, pickled and dried to ensure ingredients are stored properly. The restaurant works with local producers who help them determine the best ingredients to use, based on what is growing during peak season. 

“We use local and organic products,” says Sunyar. “The ingredients and their natural characteristics are the backbone of our tasting menus, and therefore, it is imperative that the quality of the produce is very high. These products tend to be more expensive in general, however, by using seasonal products and utilizing every part of them, our way of operating is very much cost effective.” 

The chefs set out to show people that what they have accomplished is profitable and manageable. According to Sunyar, it’s not an easy process and creating the menu does take some time, but in the end he and the team stand by what they do, and they execute delicious and visibly beautiful dishes. 

 

“It is a common misconception that waste-free practices mean cooking from products that expire soon or that making sustainable choices means that the quality deteriorates,” says Sunyar. “We do not cook from waste nor do we produce waste. We want to show that creative and great food can go hand in hand with sustainability.” 

Tomatoes, raspberry and chili.

All photos and feature photo courtesy of Nikola Tomevski.

The Michelin Guide began when the tire company — Michelin Tires — wanted to encourage travelers to drive to their destinations, in turn boosting car and tire sales. This helpful guide offered maps, attractions, and briefly mentioned places to stay and eat. The publication began as a travel guide to encourage day trips and now covers a range of prestigious ventures such as the flavor and personality of dishes at restaurants. Today, the coveted Michelin stars are awarded to the very best of the best restaurants. 

According to The International Culinary Center, US-based restaurants only became eligible for Michelin stars in 2005, and the list continues to grow. The ratings range from one to three and rank the most sophisticated and successful restaurants around the world. 

Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts is proud to announce that both the hotel’s signature restaurants, the Italian Il Ristorante — Niko Romito and the Chinese Bao Li Xuan, have been awarded Michelin stars during the Michelin Guide Shanghai 2020 presentation ceremony.

Bao Li Xuan — 1 Michelin Star

 

Located in Bvlgari Hotel Shanghai’s historic Chamber of Commerce Shanghai building, Bao Li Xuan will celebrate its first anniversary in October 2019. An enchanting blend of classic nostalgia and metropolitan modernity framed by its unique heritage setting dating back to 1916, the restaurant serves exquisite Cantonese cuisine prepared by Chef Fu from Hong Kong. 

II Ristorante — Niko Romito — 1 Michelin Star

Il Ristorante — Niko Romito represents a unique collaboration between Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts and the renowned Italian chef-patron of 3 Michelin star restaurant Reale in Abruzzo. Showcasing a new gastronomic concept that the chef specially designed for Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts, Il Ristorante — Niko Romito is currently present in the Bvlgari properties of Dubai, Beijing, Shanghai, and Milan. Niko Romito is one of very few Michelin-awarded chefs in Italy to receive this prestigious acknowledgment by the Michelin Guide both in his home country and internationally.

Other Michelin Rated Restaurants To Try

Michelin Rated Italian 

Giovannelli (Kerry, Ireland) — Italian cuisine crafted from homemade pasta and fresh local herbs.

Crust (Phuket, Thailand) — A cozy setting for Italian classics, such as scallops with truffle risotto and tiramisu. 

Hos Thea (Oslo, Norway) — This small but well-established Italian restaurant only used the freshest ingredients.

Michelin Rated Chinese

Daguan Noodle (Chicago, Illinois) — Chinese cuisine with a twist on comfort, think rice noodles and steaming bowls of broth.

Duck & Rice (London, England) — A converted pub serving delectable Chinese classics with fireplaces and booths for added comfort.

Wei Lou (Seoul, South Korea) — Located on the 34th floor of Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas, the spacious venue, delectable favorites make it ideal for large gatherings.

Photos courtesy of Bvlgari Hotels & Resorts

 

Once relegated to unpretentious mom-and-pop eateries, the diverse cuisine of the Middle East has graduated to sophisticated, award-winning restaurants across America.

Not long ago, those craving Middle Eastern cuisine would drop into a hole-in-the-wall in an ethnic neighborhood to score some falafel, hummus or a lamb kebab. Although such bargain-priced adventures continue to satisfy, that region of the world has now been discovered by classically trained chefs who are elevating its cuisine at trendy, upscale restaurants.

Every Middle Eastern culture has its own food (some countries even have distinct local cuisines), but culinary boundaries are much more amorphous than national borders. Despite a surprising degree of cultural diversity, the region’s indigenous products — chickpeas, dates, pomegranates, saffron, and olive oil, to name a few — result in some universal themes, even among adversaries.

Additionally, the use of spices like turmeric, cumin, garlic and sumac contribute to consistencies from Israel to Turkey, Lebanon to Iran. The cooking of all of those distant lands is drawing unprecedented interest among American diners, who are attracted by both its exotic qualities and relative healthfulness.

Photo by Nicole Franzen

Food Photos by Kristin Teig Photography

Chef Michael Solomonov, a native Israeli who grew up in Pittsburgh, opened Zahav (“gold” in Hebrew) in Philadelphia a decade ago and has won multiple James Beard Awards for his modern Israeli cuisine. Hardly an elitist, the chef/owner is frequently found covered in flour, preparing his legendary laffa bread dough for the restaurant’s wood-burning oven. In his festive, high-ceilinged dining room, traditional lanterns hang over the bar and a photo mural of Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda Market sets the mood.

Author of Israeli Soul and Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking (for which he won a couple of those awards), Solomonov is pleased to introduce authentic Israeli cooking to American diners. “Zahav was our way of bringing Israeli hospitality and the soul of Israeli cooking and dining to the U.S.,” says the chef. Solomonov reports that originally the menu was very literal, concentrating on authentic Israeli dishes. “But now we’ve become more comfortable in this conduit role and the relationship that we have for being a culinary tour guide, implying Israeli food without having to copy-and-paste recipes we see over there.”

“We can’t simply call Israeli cooking ‘Middle Eastern,’” insists Solomonov, noting the diverse influences in the country, including about 100 cultures represented by Israeli residents. “We have this convergence of European, Middle Eastern and North African cuisines all happening symbiotically — that’s what makes our food Israeli,” he says.

Photo by Kristin Teig Photography

Hummus with various toppings arrives with Solomonov’s signature laffa, while other mezze include veal carpaccio with coffee-brined egg and preserved lemon, and grilled duck hearts with green garbanzos. Grilled over coals are merguez sausages, harissa-spiked hanger steak or branzino, all elevated versions of traditional dishes from Israel.

The acclaimed chef points to diversity as one of the factors contributing to the current popularity of the region’s cooking, noting that its reliance on vegetables and traditional techniques (e.g. cooking over wood) also appeal to contemporary restaurant-goers. “Diners are always looking for something new, and since there’s so much history and soul in this cuisine, I think it relates to American cooking more than people realize,” says Solomonov.  

Photo by Dylan + Jeni

Bavel Los Angeles

In the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles, where crumbling factories are being transformed into chic art galleries, boutiques and bistros, young chef Ori Menashe and wife Genevieve Gergis have become prominent restaurateurs. Their first establishment, Italian-inspired Bestia, gave the Arts District culinary cred back in 2012, and this year they followed it up with Bavel, a contemporary Middle Eastern eatery.

Menashe was born in L.A., but raised in Israel, and collectively the couple also has roots in Morocco, Turkey and Egypt, so their menu at Bavel is informed by the entire region. L.A., with its large Persian and Armenian populations, is a city already accustomed to Middle Eastern cuisine, but Bavel satisfies a pent-up demand for a more sophisticated, contemporary experience. Dishes such as velvety foie gras halva, lamb tartare and grilled dorade with red charmoula delight diners.

“We always wanted to open a restaurant that showcases cuisine from our family lineage with flavors and spices we grew up with,” explains Gergis, who also serves as Bavel’s pastry chef. The couple does not believe in being limited by expectations of authenticity and is more concerned about allowing high quality ingredients to take center stage. “Everyone is always searching for authenticity, but every day in this world people are creating beautiful new works of art and delicious things to eat while only being authentic to themselves,” explains Menashe.

At Cambridge, Massachusetts’ Oleana, a mile from the Harvard campus, chef/owner Ana Sortun creates a progressive menu inspired by the cuisine of Turkey, which she fell in love with as a young chef. “The food is so rich, but nothing is heavy,” says Sortun, explaining the sophisticated use of spices in Turkish cooking is distinct from any other cuisine.

“My mission was to expand people’s perception of the Mediterranean and bring Middle Eastern cuisine into the mainstream,” says the classically trained Sortun, whose heritage is actually Norwegian. She suggests that increased travel to the region, health-consciousness and advocacy from chefs like Zahav’s Michael Solomonov are contributing to unprecedented popularity of the region’s cooking.

“I try to introduce my customers to authentic flavors, not necessarily the kind of authentic dishes I would cook if I was a native of Turkey,” says Sortun, who admits a penchant for creativity. A meal at Oleana might begin with mezze such as spinach falafel, quail kabab with a baharat spice blend, or Mediterranean deviled eggs. Larger plates include za’atar-spiced chicken with a Turkish cheese pancake or striped bass with pistachio muhammara, followed by desserts like a Turkish rendition of profiteroles.

Photo by Kristin Teig Photography.

Oleana Cambridge, Massachusetts

Sortun also co-owns a casual bakery and mezze bar in Cambridge called Sofra, and Sarma in nearby Somerville where former Oleana chef Cassie Piuma presents Middle Eastern exoticism disguised as familiar American comfort foods. “We wanted Sarma to be young and accessible, with small plates and a big bar,” says Sortun, who adds, “It’s more playful, less serious than Oleana.”

Snacks at Sarma include Turkish-spiced beef jerky, brisket shawarma served taco-style, pork belly biscuit sliders layered with jalapeño-whipped feta, and a Middle Eastern riff on the iconic Philly cheesesteak. “Cassie is using language to make the cuisine at Sarma more accessible,” says Sortun, noting that expressing familiar concepts builds trust with diners.

New Orleans hardly seems the place to find exceptional Middle Eastern cuisine, but Big Easy diners are happy to take a break from gumbo and étouffée for chef Alon Shaya’s contemporary Israeli cuisine. His restaurant, Saba (“grandfather” in Hebrew), features a homey dining room and a menu that layers modern concepts over ancient traditions from the Middle East.

Photo by Susie Cushner.

Sarma Somerville, Massachusetts

Food Photos by Brian Samuels.

At Saba, Shaya offers a selection of hummus preparations incorporating everything from spicy Brussels sprouts to blue crab, while octopus is treated with shawarma spices and foie gras is complemented with date honey and Marcona almonds. Caviar may precede family-style harissa-roasted chicken or Moroccan-inspired lamb shank pastilla.

“We don’t try to invent anything,” says Shaya, who states the restaurant’s goal is to create food that evokes memories and emotions. Concurring with Philadelphia’s Solomonov, he reports, “Israeli cuisine is different because of the immigration that occurred over the last 70 years,” with cultural influences in Israel, including Russian, Yemenite, Greek, and Moroccan. “It’s how those cuisines intermingle that make it unique,” adds the Israeli-born chef/owner.

Shaya does not necessarily subscribe to the view that Israeli and Middle Eastern cuisines are suddenly trendy. “I think it’s just good, comforting and recognizable food,” he says, adding for emphasis, “I think it’s actually anti-trendy, and that’s why so many people like it.”

Bavel Los Angeles www.baveldtla.com

Saba New Orleans www.eatwithsaba.com

Oleana Cambridge, Massachusetts www.oleanarestaurant.com

Sarma Somerville, Massachusetts www.sarmarestaurant.com

Sofia Bakery & Café Cambridge, Massachusetts www.sofiabakery.com

Zahav Philadelphia www.zahavrestaurant.com

The residents of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey are welcoming a new restaurant called Grain & Cane that has been inspired by traditional rice bags and offers a classic but enticing menu. 

The new addition to Berkeley Heights is owned by the Connell family — who at one point was the largest non-governmental rice and sugar distributor in the world. Grain & Cane is the place where you might choose a quiet corner for an intimate evening or a cozy lunch date. It’s also the restaurant that you and your family might want to visit for a special celebration. The atmosphere is a unique combination of comfortable and chic, which makes it suitable for more than one type of occasion. There’s a distinct classic feeling.

The floor-to-ceiling, weathered-looking graffiti draws the mind to traditional rice bags — the inspiration behind the restaurants’ decor. This style even includes using recycled rice bags as stool seat covers and of course some well-known brands and logos.Exposed brick walls and steel columns also draw on the family’s grain storage facilities. Tufted leather seating and custom banquettes are reminiscent of grandfather Grover Connell’s time in Paris, according to the Grain & Cane team. The main focus of the bar is the custom Solari board, which actually serves as the bar. It was once used for posting grain prices on the trading floor. Making this aspect even more special are the rotating specials and inspirational quotes from Connell, such as, “Cheer up, things could be worse. So he cheered up and things did get worse.” There’s also a two-story back bar for guests to enjoy.

The menu has a refreshing variety of choices — without overwhelming guests — and known favorites. Traditional headlines, such as Burgers and Pizza, are splashed across the menu and instantly draw you in. Modern touches and complex flavors mix with classic at Grain & Cane

White, sausage, and margarita seem like standard pizzas, but the sourdough crust is a charming twist. A burger may sound simple, but the falafel burger with hummus and avocado tzatziki and the Scottish salmon with chanterelle mushrooms, roasted potatoes, peas, and crispy prosciutto are just a hint of the surprises on the menu.

Don’t expect the menu to stay the same for too long though. The restaurant has a menu that changes with the seasons and focuses on fresh ingredients from local farms and is peppered with items inspired by the Connell family’s favorite dishes.

Making Grain & Cane truly stand out among tradition is their traveling food truck. According to the Grain & Cane team, the food truck allows the restaurant to park in different areas around town and reach a whole new set of customers and also introducing dishes to new communities.

Photos courtesy of Grain & Cane, by Oleg March 

High-end restaurants collaborate with residential buildings in major cities such as New York and Boston to create the ultimate experience for residents.

Waterline Square and Cipriani
Waterline Square has been designed by Rafael Viñoly Architects, Richard Meier & Partners Architects and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates to create an iconic collection of luxury residential buildings on one of the last remaining waterfront development sites on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The masterplan encompasses nearly five acres and will be located in Manhattan along the Hudson River from West 59th Street to West 61st Street where Midtown meets the Upper West Side.
Located within Two Waterline Square, designed by KPF, the groundbreaking development will be home to the first-ever experiential food market by the Cipriani family.
The Cipriani family will develop 28,000 square feet of space for a large-format culinary experience with multiple food and beverage establishments, including a market, restaurants and fast casual outlets. Martin Brudnizki, the internationally-acclaimed, London-based interior designer, will design the new Cipriani food hall.  

Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences One Dalton

Created and co-founded by acclaimed chef Rainer Becker, Zuma takes its inspiration from the informal and popular Japanese izakaya, where guests enjoy a relaxed dining and drinking style that uniquely embraces every element of Japanese cooking under one roof. Zuma takes this ideology, and in an elegant and contemporary environment, offers a modern Japanese dining experience that is authentic, but not traditional.
Developed by Carpenter & Company, the Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences One Dalton Street, Boston, is slated to become New England’s tallest residential tower upon its completion. Designed by legendary architect Henry N. Cobb, in collaboration with Cambridge Seven Associates, the 742-foot tower will feature 160 luxury condominiums and the second Four Seasons hotel in Boston. Celebrated designer Thierry Despont has crafted custom interiors for the residential lobby and 50th floor Club Lounge.
30 Park Place and CUT by Wolfgang Puck
Located in Tribeca at the corner of Church Street and Park Place, 30 Park Place is the tallest condominium tower to grace the Downtown skyline at 926 feet, with panoramic views of Midtown Manhattan, the Hudson and East Rivers, the New York Harbor and Statue of Liberty.
30 Park Place is designed by celebrated architect, Robert A.M. Stern, developed by Silverstein Properties and offers 157 residences in a mix of one- to six-bedrooms. 30 Park Place also features nearly 40,000 square feet of amenities, as well as a full suite of hotel services, all managed by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.
The Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown sits below the private residences at 30 Park Place. Occupying the first 24 floors of the tower and known for its five-star services, experiences and amenities, The Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown is home to CUT by Wolfgang Puck, the celebrity chef and restaurateur’s first and only New York restaurant. Accessible through a secret door on the residents’ side of the building, 30 Park Place owners never have to leave the building to dine at Puck’s restaurant.

Photo courtesy of Moso Studio

Photo courtesy of Joël Robuchon

Photos courtesy of Noe & Associates with The Boundary

Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences and Zuma
Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences, One Dalton Street, Boston has announced its partnership with internationally acclaimed celebrity-studded restaurant group, Zuma, which will offer world-class cuisine to One Dalton residents, hotel guests and locals alike in early 2019. The Boston location marks the company’s first collaboration with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and its fourth location in the United States — part of a successful expansion into the American market.
The restaurant will showcase bold flavors and simple presentation combined with an environment of sophisticated and stellar service. Zuma will bring its signature culinary approach with a touch of local flavor to Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts’ upcoming Boston location, which will be located on the third floor of One Dalton and designed by Noriyoshi Muramatsu of Tokyo-based Studio Glitt.
 

Photos courtesy of 30 Park Place

242 Broome and Make It Nice
242 Broome is the first condominium within Essex Crossing, a planned mixed-use development comprising residential, office, retail, cultural and community space on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The 14-story, 55-unit luxury building designed by SHoP Architects will also be the new home of the International Center of Photography, which will feature an event space run by Make It Nice — the hospitality group from Eleven Madison Park.
The co-owners of Make It Nice, Will Guidara and Daniel Humm, continue to transform the world of dining with their critically acclaimed restaurant Eleven Madison Park, which is currently rated the best restaurant in the world on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, possesses three Michelin stars and received a four star review from The New York Times in 2015. The pair’s Make It Nice hospitality group also oversees the food and beverage spaces at The NoMad hotels in New York and Los Angeles in addition to Made Nice in The NoMad where seasonal dishes are served in an elevated counter service environment.
Make It Nice’s collaboration with ICP marks its first off-site partnership. Guests attending events in the dramatic bi-level space on the top floors of ICP can expect the same outstanding hospitality and exquisite food intrinsic to these distinguished restaurants.
One Hundred East Fifty Third Street and Joël Robuchon
Soaring 63 stories with a collection of 94 contemporary homes, One Hundred East Fifty Third Street is a striking new modernist architectural landmark from Foster + Partners, which offers the highest level of lifestyle services and comfort. Residents at One Hundred East Fifty Third Street will enjoy the distinct privilege of sharing their address with a restaurant by Joël Robuchon, the world’s most decorated Michelin-starred chef. The tower is anchored by a soaring bi-level space designed by Joseph Dirand that will feature two highly anticipated dining concepts slated to open this year. Residents will receive preferred access to these restaurants as well as in-home dining options.
“We are thrilled to partner with Joël Robuchon and Aby Rosen on this exceptional project,” said Alex Gaudelet, CEO of Invest Hospitality. “The combination of the chef with the most Michelin Stars in the world and one of New York’s most audacious visionaries is going to make for an iconic venue.”
In addition, the building offers super luxe, spa-inspired amenities designed by AD-100 designer William T. Georgis. They include a 60-foot sunlit swimming pool, a cardio room, weight room, pilates/ballet room, yoga room, sauna, steam room, spa treatment rooms and his-and-her changing rooms and showers.

Residences at One Hundred East Fifty Third Street are a mix of tower-style units with skyline views and a specialized collection of loft residences on the bottom floors, which feature concrete walls and floors and are specifically designed to accommodate large art collections. Pricing for available units in the building begins at $2.3 million for a studio, and go up to $65 million for the 6,760-square-foot penthouse.  

Nunzio DeSantis, who designed more than 60,000 hotel rooms during his 34 years with global architecture firm HKS, opened a new hospitality architecture firm in Dallas with next generation architect and son Marc DeSantis.

Award-winning architect Nunzio DeSantis and his son Marc DeSantis have launched a specialized hospitality architecture firm, Nunzio Marc DeSantis Architects. Located in Dallas’ ultra-chic Design District, NMDA brings architectural individuality to international resorts, hotels, spas and restaurants.
In only nine months since opening, NMDA has secured the work of nearly 30 different projects in some traditionally hard barriers-to-entry locations, such as Santa Fe, New Mexico, Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Charleston, South Carolina. While many firms are constantly looking to increase breadth of projects, NMDA goes against the grain with its commitment to staying small and focusing solely on hospitality.

Among other accomplishments, Nunzio — who designed more than 60,000 hotel rooms during his 34 years with global architecture firm HKS — played an integral role in the Cabo San Lucas hospitality boom. He designed notable resorts that have shaped the destination, including Las Ventanas al Paraiso, One & Only Palmilla, Esperanza Auberge Resort and Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort.
Co-founder and designer Marc DeSantis’ architecture training at the University of Notre Dame and years at Robert A.M. Stern Architects in New York brings a structured and classical perspective to NMDA. The discipline gained under Stern’s tutelage shaped Marc’s aesthetic and attention to detail, which he imparts on the agency’s younger staff. “Many young architects today are taught about form, not how buildings are put together,” he said. “We teach young designers what makes a building real.”

Photo courtesy of Liane Swanson

Pop-up restaurants, showrooms, television and design challenges: These age-old kitchen brands are cooking up ways to stay on the cutting edge.

By Samantha Myers

Photo courtesy Siematic, America’s Test Kitchen
In addition to their distinguished, luxury appliances and product collections, well-established kitchen brands such as Gaggenau, SieMatic and Thermador are finding creative ways to stay fresh and innovative across the contemporary landscape.

“Sometimes to move forward, it’s good to look back,” says Natascha Kruusi, head of marketing for the luxury lifestyle brand Gaggenau. “Three hundred and thirty three years marks more than just the beginning of Gaggenau; it epitomizes the journey into both the past and the future.” Looking back is exactly what the German-originated brand did with the creation of Restaurant 1683, a New York City-based, pop-up restaurant with a carefully crafted setting focused on evoking the company’s roots.

Headed by Three Michelin Star Chef Daniel Humm and Restaurateur Will Guidara of Eleven Madison Park, the short-lived, but impactful Restaurant 1683 transported guests to Germany’s Black Forest. Bringing together innovative technology, immersive décor and fine cuisine, Restaurant 1683 was an all-encompassing, multi-sensory epicurean experience. “The mood was mystical. With the re-creation of the Black Forest, the space became a surreal oasis from the bustle of the outside urban streets,” Kruusi says. “You could hear the forging of nails, the sound of the water from the waterfall, smell the scent of real trees and moss, and, of course, the aroma of the beautiful food.”

For four nights, the pop-up restaurant hosted 44 guests, beginning with a cocktail reception that moved into a lively dining area, all designed by architect Hendrik Muller, who has also created Gaggenau showrooms. With its latest products gracing the open kitchens set among a story-telling, engineered setting, Gaggenau married its history with its contemporary face.

“Gaggenau is a luxury brand like no other, thanks to its unique and long heritage,” Kruusi says. “Time only can build such savoir-faire, exposing the maturity of engineering and a vision that has evolved and revealed itself over centuries.” Restaurant 1683 is the first event of a three-year initiative to host surprise, invite-only events to occur over the country.

“By bringing together timeless design and craftsmanship with exclusive culinary culture, we have created the ultimate, luxurious brand experience,” Kruusi says.

Photos courtesy Gaggenau

Another famed German kitchen manufacturer, SieMatic, designs highly functional kitchen cabinets and storage solutions, and stays fresh through symbiotic partnerships. The company fosters visibility on multiple platforms; with representation at the popular showroom PIRCH SoHo, NYC as well as on the hit TV show America’s Test Kitchen.

“PIRCH is changing the face of retail, with a truly immersive experience with the industry’s leading luxury brands,” says Hans Henkes, president and CEO of SieMatic Möbelwerke USA. “SieMatic’s inclusion in the PIRCH flagship showroom gives our target buyer the opportunity to fully engage with our products and visualize them in their homes,” Henkes says.

The user-friendly showroom is an ideal spot for kitchen brands to offer customers an interactive approach to home shopping, and fits SieMatic’s shift from product releases to its kitchen style categories. Each style collection — Classic, Pure and Urban — is featured at the showroom. Additionally, SieMatic’s presence on America’s Test Kitchen, the highest-rated instructional cooking show on television, allows more than 2 million viewers each week to witness transitional SieMatic designs as a backdrop to chefs challenging classic recipes.

Photos courtesy Siematic, Pirch SOHO

To celebrate its 100th anniversary last year, iconic luxury American appliance brand Thermador implemented a countrywide Kitchen Design Challenge, looking for the most inspiring kitchens featuring its products.

“For a century, Thermador has been devoted to creating innovative appliances that provide ultimate performance for culinary enthusiasts — and we have been an integral part of how the design and function of the kitchen has evolved over the decades,” says Zack Elkin, director of brand management. “Our commitment to the Kitchen Design Challenge enables us to celebrate the talented designers who utilize Thermador to bring the heart of the home to life for their clients with unique, personalized details — and inspired us by breaking convention and re-thinking what is possible for the kitchen.”

While Thermador Kitchen Design Challenges have taken place in the past, the centennial contest was larger than ever, in order to honor the brand’s 100-year history of shaping the home kitchen. This history includes the invention of the first wall oven and cooktop in 1947 as well as the introduction of stainless steel into kitchen. While Thermador continues to produce innovative appliances, the company wants to praise those who incorporate their products through motivating design.

“These trade professionals are a big part of why Thermador is a leader in luxury kitchens, and their designs have inspired us to continually innovate and bring forth appliances that challenge the status quo,” says Beatriz Sandoval, director of brand marketing.

The design challenge encouraged Thermador integration from budding talent to seasoned designers. With over $110,000 in prizes, regional winners (who will be announced this summer) will be invited to an upcoming gala where they will be up for high-value national awards. The top award categories include Best Use of  Thermador Refrigeration, Contemporary/Modern design, Traditional/Transitional and Designer’s Choice.

Photos courtesy Thermador

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