Gavin Kaysen of Spoon and Stable's Essentials

illustration by james kloiber

Summer flavors: Tomatoes, lemonade, corn, and sweet melons. As a child, there was a stand near my house that my dad and I used to go to and buy all of those things. We use them all on the summer menu.

Crudo crib sheet: Crudo is anything served in a raw form; anyone can do it at home. The keys are salt, acid, and texture, but most importantly, use fresh seafood.

Tip for building a balanced meal: Adding more to a plate doesn’t make it taste better. Think of mashed potatoes, gravy, and beef. Why is that so good? You have fat from the butter and potato, you have iron from the blood of the beef, and you have acid from the gravy, three flavors that are perfect together.  

Pantry item: Harissa paste. Mix it with yogurt, rub it on chicken, and cook with apricots, turnips, and onions—it’s amazing! Harissa is one of my favorite flavors in the world.

Instagram inspiration: Graham Elliot (@grahamelliot) has great food photos…Bonjwing Lee (@ulteriorepicure) travels the world, eats, and takes the best pictures on the planet…and Eddy Leroux (@lerouxeddy), the chef de cuisine for Restaurant Daniel—his pictures are amazing, and it helps me stay connected to my old world working for Daniel Boulud.