JO: Walker and I met at cooking school, but we bonded when we both worked at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House in Manhattan. That restaurant changed the way I look at food. Ducasse had a standard of perfection I’d never seen before. Every single resource, every tool, every pot, every ingredient was the best money could buy. There was no end to making things the best. It’s not getting the job done—it’s making something perfect.
Deceptively Simple Dishes
WS: I take simple dishes and figure out how to make them mine. At Dover and at our first restaurant, Battersby, a lot is hidden. Many of the recipes have a minimum of two dozen ingredients. We’re doing a cauliflower dish and there are 15 components in it, including both raw and fried cauliflower, verjus-infused grapes and candied pistachios.
Swan Oyster Depot
JO: Walker and I loved this restaurant when we went to San Francisco—the long marble counter, the really classic food, like crab Louie. They were so friendly: We were waiting outside and they gave us Anchor Steam beer.
French Copper Pots
WS: I wish someone would give me a set of Mauviel pots. They’re really expensive French copper pans. Their sides are thick and well insulated, which keeps the heat even. You can precook vegetables inside, then turn off the heat, and it’s almost like its own little oven that finishes the dish. mauvielusa.com.