2017 Comes to a Close
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As the year 2017 comes to a close, there have been many great memories for 10 Chairs NYC. In addition to wonderful company, great wine, and great food an excusion outside 10 Chairs NYC. A wine dinner at Veritas Wine Studios, a dinner with Rosa Ross and many special occasions. Weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries and just get togethers for friends who are moving away. To the future we look, a Valentine’s Day festival for friends, more wine dinners at Veritas Wine Studios and some special dinners at a very exclusive wine bar. “more to come on that later”

A new website launches shortly making it easier to make reservations through Facebook and 10 Chairs NYC website. See you in the new year. Oh yes December 21, is the last dinner of the year. I have your chairs waiting.

Ryan Foy
Featured in Dance Informa Magazine

Three acts and counting: Former dancer fulfills new dreams in the kitchen

Ten chairs, five flavorful courses, a little sparkling wine and one… ballet dancer? That’s the distinctive recipe behind 10 Chairs NYC, the boutique dining concept developed and presented by chef Patricia Williams.

Like the plot of a classic three-act ballet, the route to this former professional dancer’s current position was rather circuitous and, at times, grueling. Nonetheless, what began three and a half years ago as a passion project has evolved into a self-sustaining business, tangible evidence that the right combination of vision, tenacity and persistence can pay off.

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Ryan Foy
Past & Present

Home from the sea and the abundance of beauty on the Long Island Sound. Creating new venues for the fall/winter season, October 5 will be the first dinner of the season. As many of you know, my previous career as a ballet dancer and one of the companies was Harkness Ballet Company.” An American Ballet Story” is being written about the Harkness Ballet and I am featured in the film.

The director of the company will be in New York to share my story” After The Ballet”. Leslie Streit will be attending the dinner October 5 and will see where my path has taken me post Harkness days.

Ballet instilled in me drive, determination and the pursuit of excellence that has made 10 Chairs a success.

So as I plan the menu as in a ballet there will be an adagio, allegro and a coda. Jete with me into October and we shall share a pas de dix.

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I Search Of

“DACA” We hear a lot about this word and what it means. Though I was born here I am a dreamer. I dreamed of moving to New York and becoming a ballet dancer and that came true. I dreamed of becoming a recognized chef and that came true. I dreamed of having my own restaurant and that is partially true. 10 Chairs NYC has led me in a new direction as my own boss and owner. So my dream has come true.

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My May Mood

Sitting in my garden surrounded by sun and flowers. Rarely do I sit and reflect on my surroundings. May brings out the best in everything. The trees are flowing and last year’s plants are breaking through the soil and reaching towards the sun. I look forward to the market and the bounty of the stalls brimming with green produce. I grew my first and only fiddlehead fern. The sight of the small green curly fern set the tone for the menu for the coming week. Rhubarb begins the meal pickled and paired with fennel, celery and cucumbers.

Ramps, young asparagus, basil, new potatoes all herbs that will be a part of the upcoming menu. Vegetables and flowers comprise the dishes not as an accompaniment but as the main ingredients. Young asparagus paired with house smoked salmon, home made crème fraiche and chives. The risotto showcases the spring peas with a pop and grassy overtones. Strawberries finish the meal with simplicity and sweetness. Join me, the herbs, and the flowers for an exciting and mouthwatering menu on May 11.

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Rain Barrel Memories

When it rains I am back in Texas and outside our back door. A large wooden rain barrel. You can smell rain and when it came what I remember is the fresh mint in the yard, the pecan trees, the figs, okra and many other edible weeds that grew in our backyard.My mother would make fig preserves for my toast in the morning and mint tea from leaves. These memories come flooding back when it rains. She would wash my hair with the water and we would be outside to pick pecans for pies, okra and other greens for dinner.

I never thought about being chef at that point but I came from a family of food lovers.

Aunts and uncles who fished, raised animals and had pot belly stoves with outdoor plumbing when I was in my teens. We would drive long distances to find the best ingredients and the best places to pick dewberries. “Watch out for the snakes” my mother would call after she had dressed me in my uncles wading boots that were way too big but kept the snakes at bay.

Buckets of dewberries would be brought into the house for my Aunt Bobby’s famous dewberry cobbler. Bits and pieces of pork raised by my uncle would be tossed into a cast iron skillet with the greens. A hot skillet with bacon fat waiting for the cornbread and you could hear the sizzle as it hit the pan. The aroma in that small kitchen with the pot belly stove fueled only by wood stayed in your hair and clothes long after the simple meal finished.

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Looking Forward While Looking Back

Summer always reminds me of being home in Texas. Visiting relatives on road trips that seemed to last forever. Whining “are we there yet”. Food memories conjured up by visiting family and sharing food. Each of my aunt’s and uncle’s had their own specialty. My Aunt Rose who I am named after would set the table with real china and silver every Sunday after mass. She grew peppers, lemons and pears in her yard. She was an avid canner (don’t know if that is a real word) but that was how she was described. My family shared ingredients with each other. I remember my Uncle Abe bringing fresh shucked oyster, fish and shrimp from his fishing boat. A knock at the door” V”, I brought you some things. My mother’s nickname was” V” short for Virginia. She would put on the cast iron skillet with some bacon fat and dredge the oysters in cornmeal and serve them for breakfast on Saturday morning.

My Aunt Bobby lived a block away and she would walk over her freshly made cornbread with butter and cane syrup. I would put the softened butter on the plate and mix in the cane syrup and roll the cornbread around in my concoction. Syrup and butter dripping down my chin how wonderful it tasted. Each time I fry oysters I go back to those times in the kitchen with my mother by my side.

BlogRyan Foy
Featured in Maxim Magazine
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No One Has Pans Like Mine

"No one has pans like mine!" bragged a man to his partner at the next table. "Mama!" flashed through my brain. Although passed on awhile ago, my mother is always with me in my cooking. I always feel her love.

Virginia (my mother) did not have a lot of possessions; however, she gave me love, strength, and an unerring sense of curiosity. Telling me always, "I know you can do it," was the mantra my mother gave me, even though I didn't always think I could.

Her most prized possessions that she passed to me were her cast iron skillets. Their black, shiny patina reflects the beautiful patina of her soul that only a special person develops over a lifetime. So well seasoned, she scrambled eggs in those skillets, made pancakes, tortillas on a comal. Stable and durable - mama and her skillets.

When I shipped them home from Texas, I did not use them for a long time. They were sacred. I did not dare use them. Then, one 10 Chairs dinner, I was making cornbread and tried to find the proper pan. But, I could not find the right one. Then I saw those venerable skillets, all shiny, black, with those fine patinas. Dare I?

I carefully pulled all of them out, 10 to be exact. Salted, oiled, and cleaned them. That day, Virginia and I cooked together once again.

Sometimes I reach for a shiny stainless steel pan. But, the pull of those old cast iron pans, those beauties beckon me home. Standing with her at the stove as she makes tortillas with eggs and onions for me, she is ever close to me as I look around my own kitchen with her sturdy, durable pans ever at the ready.

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Limits

The other day, I walked to ballet class at Ballet Arts, an historic building that has housed artists and teachers since 1837. Located behind Carnegie Hall, it began as Studio 61, home to Lucia Chase, Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine: so many creative talents who seemed to see a world without limits. Many years ago I was a ballet dancer and still take class when my schedule permits. Going through the rigors of the combinations that begin with plies and end with grand allegro, has been a regimen since I was around 7.

That day, in class, I ran into a very talented singer, actress, comedian, and dancer that I had not seen in a while. She looked fabulous and started to describe her diet to me. No sugar, alcohol, coffee etcetera. My first reaction was to run home, go though my pantry and toss out all those items.

On second thought I could not imagine no wine, bread, coffee, or sugar and how limiting that would be.

But, it sparked something in my thinking: why not reverse the idea of "limits" and use that reversal as a stimulus to strive towards a creative and limitless world? I hesitate to say the next menu will not eliminate all of those items. But, the idea of seeing a new perspective on the culinary arts, inspired me to think and reach out for new ideas.

So as I sit writing the menu for the next 10 Chairs NYC, I am thinking without boundaries. Life can be about having options without kowtowing to the ideas of narrow thoughts and minds.

Join me in experiencing creativity without limits. Chef Patricia Williams

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Writing a Menu “The Easy Part”

Writing menus is an art form. Menuese is the term we use for the words chosen to describe the menu items. The first draft is an outline, broad and focused on the main ingredients. As an example: cold sliced scallops as opposed to jumbo sea scallops seasoned with meyer lemon and Hawaiian pink salt. Next, I think about each dish and how it looks, tastes, and feels - yes feels. How will my guest interpret the different feelings between smooth peanut butter or crunchy peanut butter on their tongue as they bite into a new dish? Visits to farmer’s markets, meat counters, fish markets and regular supermarkets (which I love) swirl in my head. The ingredients I find there set the order, complexity and the building blocks of the dinner.

Cooking is a very personal and intuitive journey for me. I trust the fragrance, the texture, the very sight of the ingredients will direct what and how I combine and ultimately cook my meals. So, as I begin to slice, dice, marinate, and cook the dishes they take on a character - my character.

The winter citrus salad voyage begins on a freezing day in hell’s kitchen where I took my cart and begin walking from one market, to another. In the markets are tangelos, cara cara oranges, meyer lemons, pomelos and pomegranates. I can't resist the intoxicating aromas. I carry them home and carefully, reverently lay them out on the table and breathe in great drafts of the combined fragrances. As if in a dream, I begin to visualize a beautiful, refreshing salad.

I have always loved grilled squid accompanied by salads with chickpeas and potatoes. However, beets were also plentiful in the markets, they commanded me to roast and combine them with chickpeas to sauce the plate and to become the chips for dipping in the sauce. Roasted chicken soup, roasting vegetables and bones on bread stones in the oven. The stock was heady and inebriating, filling the room with a feeling of peace and comfort.

Dill, swiss chard, and tiny meatballs called to me as potent and powerful. Each guest was silent as they inhaled the aroma. Beef a la Ficelle demanded its presence, a simple dish.

As the guests arrived at this dinner, the broth was simmering, waiting, hanging out for the tenderloin to swim in the broth and absorb the nectar of hours the bones had spent roasting and simmering on the stove. The dish needed very little, parsley root and leaves, some broth and topped with whole grains of sea salt.

Saffron gently showed me the way to dessert. A cake with pears!

Some butter. Yes, butter, flour, sugar and a fruit. The excitement grew. Then, a dollop of clabber cream - a finale fit for the most discerning diner.

Another dinner with new and old friends.

Now, onto the next.

I'm thinking porchetta, for that is a journey that takes days to produce and the time makes the difference. Join me on my porchetta trail.

BlogRyan Foy
Smoke Jazz Supper Club Review - HuffPo

"Smoke" -- the Upper West Side place on Broadway at 106th -- is surely the most genuine, congenial and best-run jazz club in the city. It's an intimate jazz/supper club that seats about fifty people for dinner at tight tables with another eight or 10 seats at the bar. Everything is a little cramped but in the right way. Waitresses snake merrily through the crowd; the Manhattan-size bathroom lies behind a closet door tucked between the bandstand and another door that opens onto a precipitous staircase down to the basement kitchen, up which come food porters miraculously balancing several plates. The décor is elegant, not fancy. Low light, dark wood and -- for Christmas -- a huge, gorgeous three-layer wreath atop the bar. Dinner at Smoke is cuisine, first-class, not just food. Executive Chef Patricia Williams produces a one-star Michelin-quality menu. While you're happy to eat a fine meal, everyone is there for the music and behave so even if a few guidebook-driven tourists show up from time to time. See the full review on Huffington Post.

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Roasting A Chicken

Winter seems reluctant to arrive. A slight chill in the air betrays its intent. At home I am putting the finishing touches on the first menu of January 2016. This menu is of special significance for it is the first menu of season 6 of 10 Chairs NYC 2016.

The sound of heat in the apartment trickles through the radiator. But I still feel slightly cold and decide to turn on the oven. No sense letting that heat source go to waste - roast a chicken!

Nothing fancy just lots of salt and pepper, maybe some herbs and yes potatoes to soak up all the delicious juices as the chicken roasts. The chill subsides and I place the chicken in the oven on a bed of lemons and herbs. I return to my work on the menu. After a little time, my mind is drawn back to the cooking chicken as I hear the crackle of the skin and the smell of the herbs. Now, I can't wait for a great lunch. Memories fill me with every roast chicken I have cooked and eaten.

The most simple meal has made me warm and will feed me well. I give thanks to my best friend and to my husband and to all of my family who remain in spirit with me daily.

The next time you feel a chill remember that somewhere, someone is warm and roasting a lovely bird to take the chill away.

Be safe and warm for this holiday season.

BlogRyan Foy
Notes From The Chef

The last dinner of the year was designed to be the crowning glory for a very special 2015. The Wow factor dictated the choice of dishes as food is a great way to celebrate any holiday, especially the end to a wonderful year. In October, I donated seats at 10 ChairsNYC to raise money for Ballet Academy East. As a former ballet dancer, I believe very strongly in supporting the dance and arts community. The auction winners, parents of young dancers who are committed to encouraging the arts joined us, also brought like-minded friends who encourage various arts.

With our international fame growing, this time Holland was represented by a young writer from Amsterdam whose wife found 10 ChairsNYC on line. Unfortunately his wife was unable to attend because she was traveling, but I look forward to meeting her in the new year.

The dinner reveled in the season.

Smoked fish is a great way to begin a festive meal. I house smoked the fish and created a pate with various herbs with a gently laid salad of meyer lemons, za’atar, and cucumbers on top, creating a scrumptious counterpoint.

As the base for chowder I used Kobocha squash in lieu of potatoes. The bisque-like base was enhanced with a white wine blend from Gonin whose color and flavor excited the palate and caught guests wondering: "what is that rich flavor of this chowder?" Artisanal grits slowly stirred with shallots cooked in butter until decadent and creamy. This was artistically topped with a combination of mushrooms; chanterelles, shiitakes and black trumpets sautéed and finished with white wine, baby arugula. It paired so naturally with a soft Zweigelt from Austria.

The crowning dish, Osso Buco: veal shanks braised with aromatics, red wine and herbs. The perfect thing to serve with this was a saffron risotto with Acquerella Arborio rice, pearl onions and butter soaked carrots. The Montefalco Rosso wine added the perfect counterpoint for this rich decadent dish.

Dessert was challenging, since it needed to be light but rich. What else but a pudding with brown sugar and maple syrup instead of scotch, cognac with a caramel that I touched with a little Hawaiian pink salt. Nothing suits pudding like a sparkling wine and the Puianello Amabile Lambrusco was just the wine.

As everyone was exchanging pleasantries, cards, numbers, I sent them home with cocoa covered truffles. Truffles always produce good dreams. 10 ChairsNYC will now sleep while new and exciting dishes are conjured up until January. See you then.

BlogRyan Foy
Notes From The Chef

As 2015 draws to an end, I reflect on so many wonderful experiences. Looking ahead, I contemplate the future and embrace the coming new year. First some reflections of the past year with new and old friends. I welcomed a new guest from Norway and enjoyed food, wine and great conversation as if we had been friends for years. Birthdays, anniversaries, and promotions were celebrated. And let's not forget the hunky firemen who showed up in the garden, luckily not for 10 Chairs, but for someone else’s oven. One of my guests had her photo taken with them and posted it on facebook. Another of my guests, through her hard work, love, and determination led her students to a performance for Michelle Obama at the White House. Had 10 Chairs not existed, I would have missed out on all of these great experiences. So with the closing of the year, I look forward to creating future memories of food, wine , and laughter. Join me. Let's ring in 2016 with old friends, new friends, and relationships yet to be forged. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.

- Chef Patricia Williams

BlogRyan Foy
Ode to the Sea

I love winter food. Most people think summer is the best time for shellfish, lobsters, oysters, and clams. But the colder months permit us to enjoy the best of these crustaceans. As I look to December for ideas, I think pumpkin and lobster bisque. Smell the pumpkins roasting in the oven and the lobster stock on the stove; that's pure comfort from the chill in the air. Mushrooms, chestnuts cry out for braised meats and ragouts. Big bowls of oxtails and pasta on the table with winter kale to add some crispness to the dish.

Apples, pears, and quince for desserts baked, poached and roasted in cakes and pies. The winter months bring so many choices. There is just a light chill in the air now, however soon fall will morph into winter and with this the presentation of a new cornucopia of the wonderful foods of winter. Come with me to experience the comfort and warmth of a new season.

Let's keep warm and comfortable in the cold.

BlogRyan Foy
Notes from the Chef

Fall is definitely here today and the next menu is all about the season. When I write a menu it is an outline and not a finished product. Squash soup? What type of squash? What texture or flavor will I add to the soup? Smooth as in a bisque or chunky as a peasant soup with apples, leeks. Soup has so many possibilities and for this reason it can be an entire meal with a loaf of bread and a glass of wine.Today I made the chicken stock for the soup, slowly simmered bones and aromatics. A feeling of warmth and comfort fills the house as the simmering stock waits for the roasted squash, leeks and roasted pears. Transforming the lowly gourd into deliciousness. The end of Indian summer brings a new vegetable bounty. I am sharing the 10 Chairs menu and thoughts with you my friends. Join me on the fall journey.

BlogRyan Foy