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TODD SNYDER: I REMEMBER YOUR TELLING ME THAT YOU DIDN’T SET OUT TO BE A CHEF.

DAN KLUGER: There are these New York families that travel all over the city to find the best Chinese dumplings. We were the family that went to Chinatown to buy the meat to make the best dumplings. But you’re right. I went to Syracuse University and thought I’d become a physical therapist and then I did an internship for Danny Meyer at Union Square Café and just fell in love with restaurants. I started in the front of the house before becoming a chef, and I learned from Danny about how to make guests feel taken care of.

TS: HOW DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS FOR NEW DISHES? SOME OF MY FAVORITE THINGS YOU’VE CREATED HAVE A FAMILIAR ELEMENT AND THEN A SURPRISE.

DK: Right back at you,Todd. When I was at the showroom and you were designing the gray twill aprons for Loring Place, I’d see how you would take a utility shirt and add extra details, and you made it into a gorgeous thing. Same thing when I start with a white ricotta pizza and then think about lemon, pickled jalapenos and brussels sprouts. The familiar gives people something they can sink their teeth into and then what’s in season or what’s at the market gives me ideas of where to take it.

TS: WHAT’S WFH MEAN WHEN YOU’RE CHEF? HITTING PAUSE ON LORING PLACE CAN’T HAVE BEEN EASY?

DK: I got a little teary-eyed the other day when I realized I haven’t left the house for five weeks with the exception of trips to the grocery store or Home Depot. On the positive side, I’ve been cooking dinner for my wife and two daughters. My girls and I have made ice cream, fresh pasta, meatballs. We’ve been eating together every night. And I’m being a little selfish and soaking that up because when we re-open, we’ll have to do more with a smaller team and that might mean working seven nights a week for me.

TS: SO, WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THOSE OF US WHO LOVE RESTAURANTS CAN HELP DURING THIS ROUGH PATCH?

DK: There are a couple of ways: Buy gift cards. It helps us from a business stand-point and sends a signal you’ll be back. Send your favorite restaurant a DM and let them know you’re rooting for them and you’ll be back. Contribute to Go Fund Me pages to help the staff and waiters. Ours is (www.gofundme.com/f/loring-place-employees). You can also reach out to the suppliers—farmers, fishermen, butchers—many of whom will make home deliveries now because they need business. Check out these farmer boxes (auramktbox.com)

TS: ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT DOING CURBSIDE PICK-UP ANY TIME SOON?

DK: Part of me wants to wait to reopen until dining can be a great experience again. Most people forget good restaurants are inherently very clean operations. We were washing and sanitizing all the time before Covid-19 because if one person gets sick, our reputation is shot. So, we’ll obviously be taking all the usual (plus all the new) safety precautions-wiping down doorknobs every five minutes. Using paper, disposable menus. But I’m not sure as a diner I want to go a restaurant where the host and the waiters are wearing masks. Our industry is built on empathy, and a mask makes it tough to greet a customer with a smile.