America 'one giant mediocre restaurant chain'

Bouchon Bistro B. PHOTO:

NEW YORK - As 2017 comes to an end, two iconic American restaurants are set to close. Bouchon in Beverly Hills, the creation of Thomas Keller, will close its doors. Chef Keller has cited “adverse conditions that prevent the running of a profitable operation” as the reason for the restaurant’s demise.

 The other US coast will see a similar closing. Le Cirque, a New York food icon and the restaurant that Sirio Maccioni and family have been calling home for 40 years, also cites adverse conditions like rent, and lawsuits for wages and sexual harassment, as reasons for the loss of the restaurant.

 The first few months of next year will see another wave of closures, of both well-known and less famous restaurants, across the United States and in particular in New York City. The wave started last year, with the closure of Da Silvano from Silvano Marchetti, the Gastronomia Culinaria, and Jean Gorges’ Spice Market. The dining panorama of the States is becoming desolated as standards and quality continue to fall.

 However, the restaurant business is back on track in places like Dubai, Singapore, and Italy. Chefs are going back to their roots and leaving the culinary American Dream behind them. They are seeing quality products and quality restaurants, and this is being delivered across the world. It seems like America will remain a place where the Michelin Guide never really left its mark, as chefs flee to places where their work can be appreciated fully.

 Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that this trend will end soon. It will probably take a few years for America to remove, and bring back many of its talented chefs. This will be true, despite the US team just winning the Bocuse d'Or, the culinary Olympics.

 Due to the adverse economic conditions in the States, restaurateurs have lost their drive in maintaining standards. They have chosen multiple locations without and personality and research into the dining experience in order to turn over a greater profit. This change is paralleled in the car industry, where American vehicles have been surpassed by Asian and European models.

 What could save the American restaurant from its own bubble is in going back to the roots and finding a much simpler approach where a love of food and attention to detail are the most important things. Otherwise, the States will be left with one giant mediocre restaurant chain.

Vincenzo Pezzilli has worked as a top chef in China, Italy and New York for the past 25 years. He moved to New York in 1997 after working with renowned chef Paul Bocuse and worked upwards through the city’s classic Italian restaurants, such as Coco Pazzo. In 2012, he opened his own restaurant in New York Gastronomia Culinaria.