Loved That Meal? Take Home a Menu Memento
Chef and restaurateur Camilla Marcus and her husband, Josh Siegel, have been collecting menus together since they were in college. The collection has grown throughout the years and is now displayed in their Los Angeles home. "For us, it's the perfect encapsulation of food experiences, memories, travel, and people that we love, all in one place," Marcus says.
The menu that started it all is from Dell'anima in New York City—Marcus' first restaurant job. A recent addition is from Bell's in Los Alamos, California, where the couple traveled in February 2020. Everything in between reflects Marcus and Siegel's shared passion for food and restaurants. "People spend so much time and effort crafting how a menu is going to look and what it's going to communicate to the guest. I think there's something really special in honoring that." Here, Marcus shares her tips for curating a menu wall of your own.
Mix and Match
When it comes to framing, Marcus lets the restaurant's decor, the meal experience, and the menu's overall look guide the way. For instance, the menu from River Cafe in London is encased in a bright blue matte wood frame that looks like pottery. "It speaks to the blue of the restaurant's logo, and that it's on the River Thames, but also the fact that the restaurant is so colorful and poppy, and unafraid of the boldness that they've carried through their 35 years."
Go with the Flow
If a restaurant doesn't have a menu, get creative! After eating at Hugo Desnoyer's butcher shop in Paris, Marcus asked the team to sign her bill. At L.A.'s Yamakase, chef Kiyoshiro Yamamoto signed a bag of seaweed and, yes, it's hanging up on the wall. "It's about doing one after the other and seeing where it leads you. It's almost like quilting, weaving together these memories."
Start with One
Instead of waiting for an expensive tasting menu or special celebratory dinner, start your collection with any great meal. If you're enjoying yourself and you want to remember the moment, seal the deal by asking the team to sign the menu—something Marcus and Siegel always do. "The team signatures remind us of the people who worked so hard to make these moments special."
Don't Overthink It
Marcus rebuilds the menu wall each time she moves to a new home. It's been in about six different locations at this point, and she never pre-plans the arrangement. "I do it intuitively. Sometimes I organize it by color, shape, size, or in order from older memories to newer memories. We build it as we go in each home"