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Are chefs in the kitchen Dec. 30-Jan. 5?

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My parents are coming to town for two weeks, which means we finally have free babysitting (!!!). I'd like to go out for a nice dinner or two with my husband, but I'm guessing a lot of chefs take this time off as well. I'd rather not go to Manresa if David Kinch isn't there, or Commis without James Syhabout. Anyone know if they'll be there, or what the "traditional" vacation time for chefs is? I was also thinking of A16, Zuni, Quince... might those be good alternatives? I take it A16 is already getting along without Nate Appleman, anyway.

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  1. Most restaurants prohibit taking vacation during the holidays since it is one of the biggest times of the year revenue wise. When I worked at a top restaurant as a server during grad school, not once did the chef owner take off during the holiday season. In fact other than taking Monday off and taking a week vacation during tax week in April, the man never missed a day of work. From what I hear that is quite typical of the industry, celebrity chefs excepted since they are hardly in their kitchens as they are out filming TV and doing promo events.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Amy G

      ah, good point. In that case, would before Jan. 1 would be better?

      1. re: Cicely

        While we can speculate or discuss the common practices in the industry, the only way to know for sure about a specific restaurant is to call it and ask!

    2. Some may not agree. But I believe any restaurant not worth going to when the chef is off is also not worth chancing when the chef is in.

      2 Replies
      1. re: oysterspearls

        I agree. OTOH: I've New Year's Eve dinners at several top restos when the chefs were in (I saw them in the kitchen) but it didn't matter: the food was just so-so. I think meals out on NYE and Valentine's Day are overpriced and underwhelming for many reasons, so we just avoid big days altogether.

        1. re: Claudette

          We have a family birthday between Christmas and New Year's, and restaurants like Manresa and Village Pub have been just wonderful at that time of year. The main drawback of that date chow-wise is the seasonal ingredients, but that's way less a problem here than it was when we lived in Boston.

          And our meal at Manresa when David Kinch was away (leaving Syhabout in charge) was every bit as great as the previous meal when we was there.

          Michael