The gratitude that Sant Ambroeus feels is reflective in our preparation and presentation of the foods we receive with such loving care from our purveyors.
Giving Thanks to Our Purveyors
Thanksgiving echoes a time when orange and yellow leaves paint the parks and streets; family and friends arrive with new stories and experiences to share; and those favorite hearty recipes are dusted off and made for a gathering of abundance. Gratitude, reflected in words, smiles, and hugs, fills the air and sets the tone for the holiday spirit. At its heart, Thanksgiving is a day to honor life’s blessings in celebration with loved ones and serves as an important reminder that every day is a day to be thankful.
At Sant Ambroeus, we have much to be grateful for year-round: a thriving community, dedicated employees, and a passion for what we do. We sat down with our Culinary Director Chef Iacopo Falai, who shared deeper insight into why gratitude for our purveyors is key to the overall success of Sant Ambroeus. “We’ve created a culture that encourages true relationships, and those relationships are the basis of everything that we do,” says Chef Falai.
Pride in Our Purveyors
To build meaningful relationships with purveyors, Chef Falai mentions that the process is mainly dependent on his ability, and that of the other Sant Ambroeus chefs, to engage in clear conversation and give positive feedback surrounding the quality of the produce and products received daily. He explains, “When creating a culture that encourages true relationships, it’s all about the constant reminders revolving around gratitude. In the restaurant industry, the most difficult part of the job is the new and constant challenges presented every day. We have to make sure we are stable and balanced to make sure we don’t engage in negative behavior.” Business through gratitude allows respect to grow and flourish alongside the quality of the products in question.
Inside every Sant Ambroeus menu, guests will find a page that mentions purveyors and their facilities by name, allowing the opportunity for transparency and recognition of the hard work that goes into each dish served at our restaurants. This same acknowledgment creates a safe environment for dialogue between the chefs, purveyors, and guests. Chef Falai says, “Take our fish purveyor, Jean-Marc. It’s not you or me who is going to the market at 2 am. We go every once in a while to experience and see it, of course, but it’s Jean-Marc and his team who get up at midnight to be at the market when the door opens to make sure they pick the best fish available.” He continues, “The purveyors are filled with pride when it comes to their products, and it is the same pride that we have when we watch guests eat the first bite of their meal. I always remind the purveyors how happy the guests are so that they feel their work is appreciated each and every day.”
A Culture of Unparalleled Quality
At Sant Ambroeus, quality is the driver of our menu. Our dishes are based on simplicity, which means fewer ingredients but a heightened emphasis on flavor and texture. For Chef Falai and his team, the creative process starts with moments of inspiration, imagining the different produce available for the upcoming season. One of the star ingredients for this year’s Fall/Winter menu is pumpkin from Westwind Orchard in upstate New York.
At the beginning of October, Chef Falai visits the farm to taste the first harvest, determining the levels of sweetness to expect, and talks in-depth with the purveyors. He explains, “Choosing the right purveyor for pumpkins is important. Pumpkin is delicious, but it’s not easy to grow. They can be full of water, too small, or not have enough room.” Once the pumpkins start to be delivered, Chef Falai and his team begin a multiple-day process of cutting and cooking them in different ways until the perfect taste is achieved. After much experimentation, the pumpkin will go into two main dishes this year: the famous Chicken Paillard and a hearty Chicken Casserole served with a mustard sauce. Whether it be pumpkin or any other type of produce, this farm-to-dish approach is only made possible by the honest exchange that takes place among all involved.
Our Gratitude is Our Joy
To feel gratitude is to expand our capacity for happiness. Sant Ambroeus believes in creating an environment that finds joy in the day-to-day details of life, like the perfect tomato, delicious olive oil, a smiling guest, or a visit to an upstate farm. The gratitude that Sant Ambroeus feels is reflective in our preparation and presentation of the foods we receive with such loving care from our purveyors.