The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 57
DINING | CULTIVATED TASTES
A combined uniqueness: Owners Scott and Ashley Switzer
created Blue Apron by marrying their years of unique career
experiences and passions into a singularly beautiful restaurant
experience for Roanokers.
there, Switzer worked as a chef in several restaurants along the east
coast. Each place helped shape his beliefs about food and hospitality. "[It's] the Alice Water Movement (originator of farm-to-table)
shoved together with French cooking," explains Switzer in describing
the basic tenets of his cooking style. When he and Tayloe-Switzer
combined their years of experiences in food, architecture, hospitality and nurturing people, the Blue Apron emerged.
Interestingly, if you had asked me before interviewing Switzer
what Blue Apron's "thing" is in Roanoke's line-up of "hipster" generation (as Switzer calls them) restaurants (e.g: Local Roots, The
River and Rail, Lucky), I couldn't have told you-other than, it's
different. Switzer laughs when I mention this, saying it's something
he hears often. Even his employees have a hard time pinning it
down. There's the small plates. But the difference is beyond small
plates. Switzer believes it's the entire Blue Apron brand-a classically elegant French style anchored in blue apron heart. It permeates everything: the architecture and decor, the service, the menu,
the small plates option, the food.
So, how does this translate for Roanokers trying to decide where
to dine for an evening? Switzer says he thinks what Blue Apron offers guests is an exciting, yet safe, dining experience.
Safe, but not boring.
"My job is to offer [customers] change well," Switzer explains
when describing Blue Apron's revolving six-week menu. Thus, 'safe'
at Blue Apron means the risks taken in the kitchen will always translate into a rich, complex and completely satisfying gastronomic
experience for diners. "Our guests deserve safety, but they also
deserve excitement." As such, Switzer is constantly challenging his
chefs and servers to represent the Blue Apron brand in individual
and creative ways.
"I'm asking them to do a lot; to represent the brand but still
have reign of what they're doing."
I had the good fortune of dining at Blue Apron on a new-menu
night; a fact I wouldn't know until days later. I wouldn't have
guessed it was the servers' first night with a new menu-something that often looks like a fawn with new legs: awkward. Instead,
my husband and I enjoyed intelligent, easy service in a setting I
can best describe as a classy mixture of cosmopolitan and French
Country, while dining on some of the most haute cuisine I've experienced since, well, since visiting France.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017 | 57