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The latest thing chefs are willing to spend big bucks on to impress diners

pottery, ceramics, shop local, Uptwon Clay

A butternut squash pizza at Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana in Gaithersburg is served on Cloud Terre dishes. (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

You’re a restaurant. You want to stand out. You make your own cheese. You bake your own bread. Maybe you brew your own beer. Short of blowing your own artisanal light bulbs (yup, “Portlandia”), how else do you put your stamp on a dining experience?

If you’re like an increasing number of eateries, you commission and even help design custom serving pieces and tableware.

Ceramics, Pottery, shop local, Uptown Clay

Venison chops on another Cloud Terre plate at Patowmack Farm. (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

In other words, for some chefs and restaurateurs, plain old white dishes just aren’t cutting it anymore, especially at a time when pictures of their food are being snapped by Yelpers, Instagrammers and professional photographers.

“The food is obviously the star of the show, but to eat food off of someone’s artwork really gives it life,” said Tarver King, who has collaborated with Arlington-based design studio Cloud Terre at both his current job at the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, Va., and his previous gig at the Ashby Inn in Paris, Va.

Uptown Clay, ceramics, pottery, shop local

Dessert plated on a Cloud Terre dish at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, Va. (Scott Suchman/For The Washington Post)

Some of the biggest-name restaurants around the country have found it worth their while — and money — to hire artists and designers to make something more interesting than mass-produced tableware. In Chicago, modernist chef Grant Achatz has been partnering for years with designer Martin Kastner for pieces at his restaurant Alinea and bar Aviary. They include a bud vase that doubles as a chopstick rest and a hand-blown glass tumbler that can spin in circles on the table (it looks kind of like a toppled dreidl).

Read the rest of the article on the Washington Post here.

ceramics, pottery, shop local, uptown clay

Amber Kendrick, owner of Cloud Terre design, consults with Rob Rubba, chef of the upcoming Hazel restaurant, about his tableware. (April Greer)

 

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A part time potter, full time marketer, full time puppy father.

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