We had the best experience (although at times frantic) prototyping and making knife and fork centerpieces for the Voltaggio Brother's MGM Steakhouse in Washington DC. Michael Voltaggio originally came to us with ideas for a steak board he could serve on at his LA restaurant, Ink. We invited him to the shop, he climbed around in our stacks of wood, got inspired, gave us a few directions and said "have at it!"
We made some cool little boards, thick beautiful pieces of burned oak with a juice router and his initial engraved into them. He loved it and immediately gave us our next mission, "make me a stand for my fork and carving knife. It will be the centerpiece of the table, it needs to be stable, it needs to be cleaned easily"
We knew he liked the look of the black burned wood, so we started with that. We wanted a more natural, artistic piece that was something reminiscent of a tree wrapping around the knife and fork but we also wanted it to be edgy and original like Michael and his food. We found some beautiful pieces of live oak and cut them into little stumps, charred them and started playing from there. With different metals and ways of holding the utensils. Always keeping in mind that they would be in a restaurant, fast paced, heavy use environment. After many prototypes and a lot of metal working we came up with a beautiful and very stable piece. We showed Michael. He loved it! He put the order through to MGM and we were on our way.
But the order never came in and we were crazy busy, up to our necks in holiday work, barely keeping up, the knife stands were forgotton. I got a call from one of Michael's people asking when the knife stands would be in DC..uh oh..We got a call from Michael, "Will I really not have my centerpieces for restaurant opening next week?...were they never ordered?" Ryan and I were on speaker phone..we looked at each other in shock. We had emailed the mgm a few times asking about the order but hadn't heard anything and we weren't sure of opening dates or maybe they had changed their minds? Ryan and I both answered at the same time "No, you'll have them for opening!" Michael was furious with whoever had let the order fall through the cracks but so happy we said we could make it happen it time.
But could we? There were so many parts to this little masterpiece. And we were in the thick of our busy season! This was Saturday afternoon already almost closing time, they needed to be in DC by Wednesday! That means everything done and packed by Tuesday. We asked everyone to stay late that day and to please work Sunday. Everyone generously stepped up! We immediately went to work cutting and turning and charring the little stumps. Then the metal work, bending and twisting and welding. We found a place that could do a one day turnaround on iron oxide blackening of the metal stems..It was coming together! We worked nonstop day and night from Saturday afternoon until Tuesday night Fedex shipping cutoff time. We signed and numbered every single one of them and literally sped to Fedex to drop them off.We were so proud of what we pulled off in such a short amount of time with our team.
What an exhausting but happy day for us pulling it off and for chefs Michael and Brian Voltaggio getting their centerpieces on time!
Just this early fall I threw a baby shower for my beautiful friend, Deandra. It was a perfect day, rare for us in early fall. It's usually the hottest time of year for us in Los Angeles, with scorching temperatures lasting all day and night. But this Sunday the weather was on our side. The Baby shower was easy and casual, as requested by mama to be. Along with paying tribute to our guest of honor there was lots of catching up and mingling, great music, henna tattooing and fantastic food!
A few of us brought different dishes made with lots of love and you could tell!..salads, quiches, frittatas, bread puddings and cakes..what a spread! I got to do one of my favorite things- displaying the divine dishes on our serving pieces. Just gorgeous!
I'd like to share with you a favorite pick of the mama to be that I made for the shower...Bacon Zucchini Quiche..to be enjoyed by yourself or with loved ones anytime of the day..quiche is a lovely meal, especially with a salad..And a Quiche on our Quartet board is a thing of beauty.
Bacon and Zucchini Quiche
Flaky Tart Dough
The tangerines on our tree at the shop are in abundance right now, perfect for foraging and turning into a winter cocktail. Rosemary seemed to be the perfect woody compliment to the sweet tart tangerine. Ryan and I made these to sip on while watching the Golden Globes last week but they are delightful for any occasion! This martini looks especially good atop our coasters and Jean tray.
When our friend Jill Elmore (chef to Jennifer Anniston) texts to say she can't find any beautiful countertop paper towel holders anywhere, the challenge to make one was on! This would not be just any paper towel holder - it would be a beautiful combination of wood and brass that would stand proud on the counter.View full article →
As a kid growing up in Seattle, I distinctly remember my mother assigning me the chore of emptying the kitchen compost collection into the large compost bin in our back yard. It was on the third level of a tiered yard, and I dreaded the walk all the way up the steps, the chills of revulsion as I lifted the lid and saw the writhing mass of worms breaking down the mulch. I would toss the compost into the bin as quickly as I could, completely grossed out by the idea of dirt and bugs and rot. Looking back, home composting has become one of the fondest memories I have.View full article →
Who doesn't love a wooden spoon? Remember the perfectly worn one your mother or grandmother had in your childhood? Whether being used every day or displayed as a piece of art, wooden spoons seem to elicit a certain kind of devotion.
Within each handmade spoon are infinite opportunities for artistic expression. Length, size, wood, grain, whimsy... Utility meets art in a new classic design by The Wooden Palate.View full article →
Even with recent lime shortages across much of the country, spring is still the perfect time to whip up a bowl of guac for your first porch sits or barbecues of the season. Always a party favorite, our guacamole recipe is a fresh take on the classic dip that has been around since the time of the Aztecs. We spruce up your average guac by tossing in pomegranate seeds and pepitas. Pepitas are a great source of magnesium, zinc and healthy fatty acids while the pomegranate adds a certain flamboyance you're sure to love. Pair it with some crispy tortilla chips or slap a glob into your favorite burrito, and all will be good in the world.View full article →
To many, salt is just salt. If you want to look further, however, salt is so much more than your typical ingredient. There are many distinct characteristics and varieties of salt out there; distinguishing between them can help progress your cooking abilities to wow your next dinner guests by enhancing the flavors of your food. Below are some salt recommendations from The Wooden Palate that you can experiment with to create your next spread with.View full article →
Actually... we've been back for a few weeks now, but are still flying high from our successful time spent in New York at the NYNOW trade show. Getting to the east coast doesn't happen as often as we would like, so making the most of our short trip quickly became a priority. Along with our current retailers who stopped by to see us and our latest luxurious necessities, we met tons of other talented artisans and opened a myriad of new accounts worldwide who will soon be offering our elegantly organic handmade pieces in their shops.View full article →
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