New Year’s resolutions aren’t for everybody. Take Vikram Sunderam, the chef of Rasika , who says he doesn’t make any annual vows because “everybody ends up doing what they want” regardless. But I found some Washington-area tastemakers to talk about their goals for 2012.
Elizabeth Petty, owner of the Catering Company of Washington and the vegan-friendly Elizabeth’s Gone Raw
Personal: “I haven’t had time to think about it!” Advice for diners then? “Think about what you’re putting into your body.” She recommends filling up on “green juices,” including wheat grass. And “if you eat meat seven days a week, eat it five days a week” instead.
Professional: Petty’s good-for-you restaurant continues to broaden its organic spirits and wine program, now 55 labels strong. New: Raw cocktails, including fresh-squeezed pear, celery, lemon, ginger and cucumber blended with rum.
Nadine Brown, sommelier at Charlie Palmer Steak
Personal: While she has reservations about resolutions (“I try not to make them”), Brown would like to do more yoga in the new year.
Professional: She’s encouraging diners to “drink what you like” but also try something new. If you typically order say, chardonnay, the wine maven suggests you try a viognier – and make it local. Viognier “is a great varietal when done right.” Brown recommends the “lean, crisp, readily available” one from Chester Gap Cellars.
Art Carlson, owner of CF Folks
Personal: “Stop smoking. I’ve been doing it since I was 12. Isn’t it terrible?” The restaurateur finds it helpful to attend AA meetings. “There’s no difference between a smoker and an alcoholic. I’m a nicotine addict.”
Professional: ‘I’d like us to concentrate on those things we don’t concentrate well enough on,” including side dishes and salads.
Victor Albisu, executive chef at BLT Steak
Personal: “In this profession, work definitely bleeds into personal life.” He wants to spend more time with his kids, Julian, 5, and Lucas, 2. A serious guitar player, the chef adds, ‘I want to play more music.”
Professional: The South American grill is Albisu’s inspiration in the kitchen. Look for steak and other meats made fragrant by burning herbs and wood underneath them. He also wants to move away from fat-based sauces and toward more salsas.
Derek Brown, drinks expert at the Columbia Room
Personal: “Eleven months out of the year, I’m pretty decadent.” As he has for the past several years, Brown begins Jan. 2 with a raw food diet that allows for oatmeal or brown rice and “tasting” but not “drinking” alcohol.
Advice for diners: Focus on quality over quantity, eat more vegetables and remember that dining “isn’t just about food and drink but the people you’re with.”
Personal: “Take care of my health and get physically fit,” says the restaurateur, who is recovering from a broken shoulder and anticipating back surgery in January.
Professional: Greenbaum is putting the finishing touches on a menu for her next dining destination, “a neighborhood cantina with a bar vibe.” While it doesn’t have a name, it has a target date of April.