In advance of this weekend’s New York v. San Francisco-themed Le Grand Fooding, Daniel Patterson, the chef of Coi in San Francisco, has taken to the Times‘ Moment blog to offer his thoughts on David Chang’s now-exhaustively-invoked “figs on a plate” comment, which sparked an alleged controversy between the two cities back in October:
About this whole fig business: I agree with David Chang, at least in part. I said as much in a New York Times Magazine story five years ago. But New York suffers from the same monotony, albeit in different ways. New Yorkers’ love affair with tuna tartare has inexplicably entered its third decade. Every dish seems to have bacon in it. Comfort foods (hellooo, pizza!) continue their inexorable march through the Manhattan dining scene. And what’s with the all the “gourmet” fried chicken? New York chefs may make fun of Californians, but they’re using all of our produce (several days later), and the latest trend seems to be “farm to table” restaurants. I feel like I’ve seen that before. Somewhere.
All of which is a thoughtful, well-reasoned, and honest. Why, yes, there is an awful lot of pizza and gourmet fried chicken to be found here, and, no, we don’t understand the continued popularity of tuna tartare, either. Still, we can’t help but hope that rationality and tact will fall prey to baser instinct, and that the manicured grounds of P.S.1 will witness the most scrupulously sourced food fight in recent history. Because if fall’s staid tasting events have taught us anything, it’s not really a party until the local candy-cane beets start flying, someone torches an effigy of Alice Waters, and Florence Fabricant puts David Chang in a thigh lock. Hey, we can dream.