Friday, February 4, 2011

Formaggio. Fromage. Queso. CHEESE.

Let's talk cheese. Because cheese is where my head's been at for the past week. We're wrapping up our cheese tastings and cheese service decisions for Restaurant R'evolution, and I'm really getting excited to share our program with everyone.

Cheese cart
There’s really two schools of thought on cheese. Everyone’s into signature cheese plates these days, and then there’s the cheese cart. There are some beautiful cheese plates out there, but I’m more of a cart guy. I favor the cart over the plate personally because it's just so much more stunning from a sensory perspective. Sure, you can read the descriptions on the menu and make your selections, but seeing and smelling the whole array laid out for you – it just makes such a great impact. It's a great way to market cheese, and it's a great opportunity for teaching the guest about cheeses they may never have tried. 

At R'evolution, we're going to have four carts – custom carts we’re designing. They’ll have granite counters with beautiful drawers that pull out for plating, clear domes to showcase the cheeses. The cheese will be stored in a series of floor-to ceiling cheese caves in our Market Room.

A mock cheese service for Restaurant R'evolution
We're planning to have 20-30 cheeses on each of our four carts (with a possibility of doing different ones on each cart). Blues, goats, cows, sheep, but also with reference to the seven nations – German cheeses, French, Spanish. John even tells me we can source some African cheeses, which will be exciting to try. So we’re going to tie all that in as another layer of interest in our cheese program. Same with the fruit breads, mostardas, and other accompaniments to the cheese cart.

In addition to having a rocking stand-alone cheese program, we'll also be able to use these artisanal cheeses to do some great salads and pastas, which pushes us to be creative..

I’m excited to keep the cheese offerings rotating. You find these great little artisanal, small-production cheesemakers, and I love that we’ll be able to keep showcasing the ones we're passionate about. I’m also excited to showcase some of the cheeses being made at John’s Bittersweet Plantation Dairy, like his Fleur de Lis, his Bayou Blue and his Holy Cow (Vache Sante). Fleur de Teche, a triple cream cow's milk cheese with a layer of vegetable ash, is a showstopper. Oh man. Having his dairy in our corner will also allow us to explore making some exclusive R'evolution cheeses, which would be very cool.

Some cheese knives we're

A mock-up of our signature
cheese board

One of John's and my goals for Restaurant R'evolution is to have one of the best cheese programs in New Orleans, and you can bet we'll be showing our attention to detail at the highest level, from how the cheese is tempered and ripened, to how it's cut, served and displayed. We hope the cheese-lovers out there will be as excited about this as we are.

- Rick           

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