On this week's Special Sauce, John Stage, founder of the insanely popular barbecue mini-chain Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, reveals the unusual way he discovered his calling. Growing up, Stage had a soft spot for his mother's Italian-American cooking, especially her lasagna; his father, Stage tells us with a chuckle, was the one who taught him to drink. But he didn't take an interest in cooking for a living until he ran afoul of the law at age 18.
Serious Eats' pastry expert, Stella Parks, a.k.a. BraveTart, is so disarmingly charming as our guest on Special Sauce, you'll undoubtedly fall in love with her the way all of us have. After attending the Culinary Institute of America, working in restaurants in Lexington, Kentucky, and living in Japan, Stella now has her hands full with testing and writing Serious Eats' dessert recipes while she finishes her upcoming cookbook, titled BraveTart after her online moniker.
In the middle of part 2 of Danny Meyer's interview on Special Sauce comes a shocking admission. In 2001 the first incarnation of the enterprise that became the global phenomenon Shake Shack was a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park that was part of an art project featuring two taxi cabs. Did Meyer have any idea that that hot dog cart would eventually become a publicly traded global phenomenon? On this episode you'll also hear about the origins of Blue Smoke, and how he has managed to forgive me for the post I wrote titled, "Why do the French fries at Blue Smoke Suck?"
In this week's episode of Special Sauce-the first of two parts-we talk about how Meyer came to see the pursuit of restaurant-experience perfection as anathema to his own business, and take a look at his five founding principles of hospitality. I could tell you what they are here, but then you might not listen to this extraordinary episode.