The Role of Bread In An Elevated Dining Experience

Ahh, bread.

As a guest in a fine dining restaurant, either you love it or... you don’t understand it!

Has anyone ever advised to not eat too much bread, because it can ruin your appetite? Or, maybe you had that one friend who would refrain from eating the warm doughy loaf in hopes of maintaining or improve their figure. These mixed attitudes towards bread have left the ancient food with a negative reputation.

To restore that reputation, the rise of the "bread program” movement highlights the significant role of bread in an elevated dining experience.

“It’s incredibly important,” said Chef Marc Forgione, whose restaurant serves an elevated version of the classic potato roll, brushed with clarified butter, sprinkled with black salt and served with a side of caramelized onion butter. “It’s the first bite you have at the restaurant, so it’s the first impression you’re getting of our food and the experience.”

Traditionally, bread has always been part of fine dining (usually, at no extra cost.) But, when a bread program really shines, it’s because it offers something unique or of the best quality.

Bringing the best product forward to each guest takes extra time, effort and money. Some restaurants achieve this by producing fresh, house-made bread daily, while others, leave the job to local artisans who have mastered the craft and only worry about the logistics of getting the quality loaf to the patrons' table.

In some cases, restaurants may do a combination of both depending on their menu offerings.

This is the case for Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink (MGFD,) the flagship restaurant of James Beard award-winning chef and owner Michael Schwartz.

“We know that somebody else has better resources who does it to perfection. We like to promote those people, because they are doing something special,” says MGFD’s Pastry Chef Maria Garcia, referring to Miami-based artisans from Zak the Baker, La Parisienne Bakery and True Loaf that provide bread for the bread course and some sandwiches on the menu at Michael’s Genuine.

Avocado Toast with spicy crab, cilantro, lime, Zak's Rye #thisismgfd #mgfdbrunch

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Oof that's lunch. #mgfdlunch #pastramisandwich #falafel #mezze @zakthebaker 💗

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A lot of thought and effort goes into ensuring the best quality breads make it to guests’ tables, therefore the bread course at MGFD is offered for an extra charge.

“A lot of restaurants with our style of cooking are doing this nowadays, because in all honesty, it’s so much better to bring something that is actually really special that people can get excited about, and granted, yes, you have to pay, but it is so worth it,” said Chef Garcia, who attributes her love for bread to her family from Spain and her respect for its role in an elevated dining experience to Chef Michael Schwartz and Chef Bradley Heron.

“I think Schwartz and Brad have a really good philosophy and they have managed to teach it to all of us, so we can appreciate the good things,” added Chef Garcia.

Not only is Garcia in charge of confections as Michael Genuine’s pastry chef, but she also oversees the production house-made breads for MGFD and their sister restaurant cafe, Ella. These include: focaccia, pizza dough, pita bread, donuts, buns and bagels.

Her day begins at 6 a.m. at a commissary kitchen, where she spends the first three hours of her day.  An everyday task in the day-to-day prep list, is assuring the dough being fermented in bulk, is done so appropriately.

Soppressata Pizza 🍕🍕 crushed tomato, chile flake, honey, mozzarella #mgfdpizza #mgfdlunch

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#eggsandwich with grilled bacon & cheddar on a brioche #mgfdbrunch #michaelsgenuine #miamidesigndistrict #baconandeggs #sundaybrunch

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🍩🍩 cookies & cream donut #sobewff #thisismgfd #brunch #donutlovers 😍

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“The quality of your bread will rely on how well you ferment things and how they behave. So, we bulk ferment so the dough can develop a lot more flavors, so the alcohol doesn’t have that yeasty flavor. We like to give time for it to slow down and give time for the bacteria to grow, so it allows the bread to slowly ferment,” said Chef Garcia, who considers bread-making both an art and a science.

“It’s understanding the elements, their behavior and qualities as well as the artistic beauty of good bread.”

Foodable Labs ranked the following restaurants no. 1 in their respective cities when it came down to sentiment scores towards bread.

  • Portland - Le Pigeon
  • Miami - Michael's Genuine
  • New York - Marc Forgione
  • Denver - Work & Class
  • Chicago - Monteverde
  • Los Angeles - Animal

Watch the video to learn about other restaurants doing in-house bread!

A Deeper Look Into the No. 1 Restaurants for This Month's Foodable Top 25

A Deeper Look Into the No. 1 Restaurants for This Month's Foodable Top 25

By Jessica Bryant, Managing Editor

Our Foodable Top 25 Restaurants have been released for this month, featuring Boston, Denver, Miami, New Orleans, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

These rankings are based on March 2015 data from our sister company’s proprietary Restaurant Social Media Index (RSMI), the most comprehensive index for the restaurant industry.

This Month’s No. 1's

Boston: Liquid Art House.

Located in Boston’s Bay Village neighborhood, Liquid Art House is more than a sight to be seen. Though it may be visually stimulating with wall art and murals (with a mantra of “Eat Your Art Out”), Liquid Art House appeals to all senses (and to a wide variety of guests). The menu is rounded out with local ingredients, whole communal roasts, and a fair balance of veg-friendly dishes and meat. With a heavy hand in supporting the arts with pop-up gallery and style events, and with Chef Rachel Klein — named “Best New Chef” by The Boston Globe and Boston Magazine — steering the concept, it’s no wonder it's a front-runner status this month. Check out the full Boston Top 25 Restaurants for March here.

Liquid Art House
The Arlington, 100 Arlington Street
Boston, MA 02116

Read More

From Humble Beginnings to Culinary Success- Portland's Food Scene

Beef Strip Loin Roast at Beas t | YELP, Leah K.

Beef Strip Loin Roast at Beast | YELP, Leah K.

Portland is only the nation's 35th largest city, but the food scene continues to make national headlines. With the renowned culinary talents of Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon and Naomi Pomeroy of Beast (this month's no. 1 on Foodable's Portland Top 25 Restaurants list,) Portland's culinary scene is now known for innovative and creative cuisine. 

Portland wasn't always known for their sophisticated food scene, eight years ago Portland chefs had to inspire consumers to try new things. The local wine industry also helped to put Portland on the map. Read more about how the Portland culinary scene has evolved.