In 20112, Nayr Mageira came to us with a fascinating idea in his head. As a chef who spent numerous years practicing as an attorney, he wished to combine his passion with his legal background to develop a high end dining experience for an upscale clientele. We excitedly developed a partnership to help him build upon this idea, which ultimately led to the development of Voir Dire, a restaurant premised upon the legal concept of precedent.

After initial discussions with Nayr we found the fact that recipes cannot be copyrighted incredibly interesting. The analogy here, of course, is that the law too, in Western cultures, at least, is premised upon that same idea. Legal opinions are public records in the public domain. However, it’s a rare case where an accomplished chef is as recognized and honored as a successful judge. This concept formed the basis for Voir Dire which is scheduled to open within the next two years.

Voir Dire is a tribute to culture and its uniting force: food. Even in the earliest years civilization has been graced with artisans who have been mostly forgotten, but are responsible for recording our food history.  Apicus in Roman times, Escoffier in the earlier part of the 20th century, and dozens of influencers in the modern era including Ray Kroc, Grant Achatz, Julia Child, Heston Blumenthal, Wylie Dufresne all play a part in how we experience culture through taste and smell. Food is life and dining is living. This is what Mageira sets out to memorialize.

“The law is built upon a concept of Stare Decisis, or ‘to stand by things decided’, which allows for legal precedent to be built. Cuisine, in much the same way, is built upon the shoulders of culinary giants who have changed our culture without much celebration or recognition. It is this idea that led to Voir Dire’s concept of Stare Culinae, or ‘to stand by things cooked’.”