The Tasty Bits Blog

Jul 28, 2015

NYC - If you can make it there...

General  ·  

Chef and author Anthony Bourdain famously said that “as soon as you live and work in New York City, if only for a year or two, you will be forever changed as a cook…” I never got that; I’ve lived and worked in lots of places, Waterloo, Cambridge, Toronto, even Melbourne Australia, and the cities themselves, while often fun, just  weren’t that big a part of my overall experience. But having just come back from five days in an “AirBNB” on the Upper East Side, now I get how living in that amazing city will forever change you as a cook, not unlike a year in Paris or London or Rome would too…


We stayed in a townhouse on East 89th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, in what I would think was a very average neighbourhood. In less than a three minute walk towards 2nd, we had to two mom and pop grocery stores, three Italian style eateries, several pubs, a few Greek places, some pizza places, all manner of different Asian options, two small boutique hotels, a couple of three stars bistros, and more than a dozen other places to eat (likely more!), all visible from the corner of 89th and 2nd. A three minute walk towards 3rd Ave revealed just as many restaurants plus two bagel shops and a Whole Foods!


In most cities, you would need to move to a different neighbourhood or have a commute to learn a new cuisine or to get a new job as there just isn’t that same concentration of opportunities. In NYC, all you have to do is just walk around the corner and see what’s open…


Unlike most other professions, working six months here and eight months there really isn’t seen as a bad thing for cooks and chefs, at least in the beginning decade of their careers. There is only so much you can learn from each role and every new job gives you more experience, a wider palate and hopefully expands the range of dishes that you are comfortable with.


If you are a chef and lived on 89th between 2nd and 3rd, you would have 100+ employment options within a ten minute walk from your front door and I’m sure there are very few other places in the world that give you the same opportunity…


But then there’s the rent…

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