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Q & A With Will Goldfarb

Posted on Aug 13, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Somewhat of a pioneer in the pastry movement, Will Goldfarb launched the radically successful dessert bar Room 4 Dessert.  There he charmed diners with such vanguard creations as litchi sorbet with tea air and choco bubbles.  Though Room 4 Dessert has recently shut its doors (due to creative differences amongst partners), Goldfarb shows no signs of slowing down.  His newest venture, Picnick, will bestow a “green” kiosk on Battery Park, bearing haute sandwiches and pannacotta in paper cups (opens Labor Day weekend).  A student of Le Cordon Bleu and Ferran Adria’s at Spain’s three-starred El Bulli, Goldfarb has emerged an ingenious “mad scientist,” fascinated with chemically altered states of cooking. Status: Single/Married/Divorced Happily married. How did you meet your wife? She interviewed me to see if I would be a good roommate for a shared apartment on Bleecker Street. ...

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Q & A With Craig Koketsu

Posted on Aug 8, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

As the executive chef at NYC’s first seasonal restaurant, Park Avenue Summer, Craig Koketsu’s menu will morph at the whim of the seasons (as will the space itself).  Craig Koketsu has become quite adaptable to change: afterall, he oversaw Manhattan Ocean Club’s kitchen as it transformed into the chic  Quality Meats.  Craig didn’t travel a traditional path to the kitchen, instead spending his early years in UC Berkeley’s library.  From there, he skipped culinary school and went straight to numerous California kitchens then to NYC to work under the tutelage of luminary Christian Delouvrier at Lespinasse.  This summer’s menu, which will soon fall (as well as the space itself) into autumn, purveys soy-battered soft shell crabs, grilled langoustines and fluke dabbed with plum & cilantro paste. Status: Single/Married/Divorced Married to my incredibly beautiful and talented wife, Juliana Cho. What...

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Q & A With Amanda Freitag

Posted on Jul 31, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Anything but your boilerplate neighborhood Italian, Gusto’s outfitted in sleek black and white decor with Missoni striped barstools & vintage Viennese chandeliers.  Owner Sasha Muniak (Mangia & Centro Vinoteca) not only has an eye for design, but also talented chefs to implement this West Village spot’s seasonally-determined menu.  While Gusto debuted with Jody Williams, Amanda Freitag has skillfully stepped in, bringing her Mediterranean sensibilities to the table.  With a CIA education and considerable experience in some of New York’s most prominent kitchens (Vong, Cesca & Il Buco), she ably spices up the rustic cuisine with parmesan & prosciutto beignets, artichoke & pig’s feet-stuffed pork chop, and a roasted goat special on Wednesdays. Status: Single/Married/Divorced Single What did you want to be when you grew up? A dancer, I guess.  I still went for a high endurance career! What was...

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Q & A With Alex Guarnaschelli

Posted on Jul 24, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Although Butter is no doubt better known for its swanky downstairs lounge, a nocturnal playground for the glitterati & New York’s trendiest, but if you venture above ground, you’ll happen upon a serene, forested landscape with an accomplished chef, modestly dazzling diners with her New American menu.  Since 2005, Alex Guarnaschelli has put a unique spin on the driven, green market cuisine at this East Village spot.  As the daughter of successful cookbook author, Maria Guarnaschelli, food seems to run in the family.  With a culinary education from La Varenne in France, Alex has traipsed through many a prominent kitchen: the likes of three star Michelin-rated Guy Savoy, Daniel and LA’s Patina.  Now at home in NYC and Butter’s kitchen, she churns out such signatures as cavatappi pasta with spicy colorado lamb sausage & yellow tomatoes and autumn mushroom...

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Q & A With Pichet Ong

Posted on Jul 17, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

On the eve of P*ONG’s official New York Times review, we thought it supremely apropos to check in with Pichet Ong, the owner & executive chef of NYC’s newest dessert bar.  Who knows how many stars Bruni’s willing to stamp on this sleek Chelsea nook, but the zealous pastry set have already given Ong an overwhelming nod of approval.  Unlike other pastry bandwagoners, Ong doesn’t rest on his sweet creations, but instead does an impressive job with the savory bites: stilton souffle, escarole green goddess salad & wagyu carpaccio with shiso pesto.  But to deny yourself dessert at P*ONG would be downright senseless; Especially when the offerings are as exotically sinful as chevre cheesecake croquette, miso ice cream and an extra virgin olive oil cake sandwich with wasabi candy and strawberries. What did you want to be when you...

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Q & A With April Bloomfield

Posted on Jul 12, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

There’s been much ado about The Spotted Pig, the West Village’s perpetually packed gastropub, that spawned a trend in militantly seasonal comfort food spots.  With a massive spread of all things offal, masterful ricotta gnudi and a greatly sought-after Roquefort burger, Ken Friedman & Chef April Bloomfield has indeed taken New York City by storm. (Not an easy feat).  Bloomfield seamlessly mingles Italian cooking with simple bar food techniques, resulting in anything from a slow-roasted beef shin with polenta to a simple, but exquisite salad of roasted pumpkin & shaved pecorinio.  It’s no wonder people will wait over two hours to snag a table at The Spotted Pig: Bloomfield’s resume reads such classic establishments as River Café, Chez Panisse and Kensington Place. Status: Single/Married/Divorced Single What did you want to be when you grew up? A police woman.  I...

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Q & A with Terrance Brennan

Posted on Jun 28, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Terrance Brennan pioneered the European cheese course at his Upper West Side institution, Picholine, single-handedly priming the American palate for a future of cheese worship.  After laying the groundwork at this haute French Mediterranean, he aggressively furthered the fromagerie movement with French brasserie, Artisanal, a sanctuary for all cheese-laden dining endeavors.  Still, aside from his gossamer cheese menus, it’s his culinary talents that have gained him the most recognition, receiving three stars from The New York Times.  His decadent riff on Chicken Kiev manifests itself a corn flake-coated breast, tenderly cloaking a sublime foie gras filling.  He affectionately glazes squab with licorice and skillfully integrates gruyere cheese into a snail-studded risotto.  A restless chef, as so many tend to be, Terrance plans to expand his empire and launch Artisanal fromageries all over the country. What did you want to...

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Q & A with Scott Conant

Posted on Jun 13, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Best known for his mastery of Italian cooking, Scott Conant auspiciously implemented worthy menus at both L’Impero &  Alto.  But after his recent split from partner Chris Cannon, he bid adieu to both kitchens and ventured off on his own.  Thankfully, he’s resurfaced at retired Conde Nast CEO Steve Florio and partner Larry Baum’s casual Sag Harbor trattoria, Tutto Il Giorno, where beachgoers are already flocking for his signature truffle-crowned polenta & branzino tartare.  But that seems just the beginning for the ambitious young chef, who manages to finesse the most sublime flavors out of the simplest ingredients. He’s also launched his own cookware line and made his Home Shopping Network debut.  Showing no signs of slowing down, Conant’s even got an imminent NYC restaurant up his sleeve. Status: Soon to be married…In September, my fiancée Meltem and I...

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Q & A with Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony

Posted on Jun 5, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

On the eve of Frank Bruni’s reconsideration of Gramercy Tavern post-Colicchio, I bring you the new chef in question: Michael Anthony.  Who knows what’s in the New York Times stars for Danny Meyer’s distinguished New American?  I doubt it will make it any less impossible to secure a reservation at the “Zagat’s most popular” restaurant in New York City.  Fresh from Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Daniel & March, Michael brings his delicate  sensibilities to the rustic barnyard fare.  Dishes like sturgeon washed in a lemon fennel sauce & succulent venison paired with onion marmalade humbly, unveil chef Anthony’s mastery of Gramercy’s kitchen.  Status: Engaged.  We are planning a wedding for this summer. What did you want to be when you grew up? You mean when I grow up?? A journalist. How did you get into food? Starvation and...

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Q & A with Seamus Mullen

Posted on May 31, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Chef Seamus Mullen, who cooked at NYC’s Brasserie 8 1/2, Crudo and some of Spain’s best kitchens, brought a uniquely seasonal and ingredient-driven approach to the authentic Spanish cuisine at Boqueria. The perpetual wait at the sleek new Flatiron eatery suggests he must be doing something right – so does the two stars he received from the New York Times.  Perhaps, it’s the simply prepared quail eggs with chorizo or a delightful snarl of cuttlefish seasoned with apple, plump peas, garlic and mint. Riding the recent success at Boqueria, Rochefort decided to revamp the space at his Lower East Side “other half”, Suba, enlisting Mullen to do the same with the menu.   Think refined sharing as the chef ventures a sophisticated spin on Spanish cuisine.  Boqueria’s cuttlefish special in tote, Mullen’s also conceived crispy frog legs with pickled cucumber...

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Q & A With Jeffrey Chodorow

Posted on May 23, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Jeffrey Chodorow goes on record, following Adam Platt’s one-star New York Magazine review of the controversial restaurateur’s most recent project: Wild Salmon.  After calling it a wrap on English is Italian, Jeffrey flew in chef Charles Ramseyer from Seattle and a boundless supply of Pacific Northwest salmon, transforming the sizeable midtown space into a copper-gilded seafood temple. Let’s rewind a few months to Jeffrey’s Kobe Club venture.  And let’s be candid: Bruni, Platt, & Cuozzo’s collective pan of the samurai sword-sleek steakhouse, all read more like personal slights against Chodorow & his entire CGM empire, than a gastronomic exposition of the menu itself.  Swanky and overpriced?  Yes, but I could make a naughty habit out of chef Russel Titland’s flavorful bacon sprinkled with black truffles. Jeffrey retaliated by taking out a full-page ad in the New York Times to...

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Q & A With Floyd Cardoz

Posted on May 17, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

When Mayor Danny Meyer appointed Floyd Cardoz to be executive chef of his fourth restaurant pursuits, he valiantly redefined New Yorker’s perception of Indian cooking.  A native of Bombay, Cardoz has managed to elevate Indian to a refined plane, seamlessly marrying local produce with exotic Indian spices.  Spice-crusted beef loin is vibrantly weaved together with pickled ramps, sweet corn, chanterelles and star anise jus.  Seared stripe bass glistens in maple-tamarind.  But Cardoz’ deft technique is not merely a fluke, but a product of culinary studies in Switzerland and time spent in Lespinasse’s kitchen with Gray Kunz. What did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor or marine biologist How did you get into food? I’m from Goa, a community of food and beverage loving people. My family’s conversations regularly revolved around food and cooking, and we...

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Q & A With The Insatiable Gael Greene

Posted on May 5, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Gael Greene began her career in food even before New York was a city worthy of culinary reckoning.  Finding her way onto the dining scene by way of New York Magazine, she launched her column, “Insatiable Critic”, and simultaneously pioneered the very notion of a foodie.  From her infamous sexual encounter with Elvis and a fried egg sandwich to the imminent 21st century launch of, Gael’s witnessed over four decades of food history.  Unabashedly mixing business with pleasure, Gael’s pretty much seen, done and eaten it all… What did you want to be when you grew up? A novelist. My heroes were Scott Fitzgerald, D.H. Lawrence, Katherine Anne Porter. Carson McCullers. Hemingway.   I wanted to sit at the Deux Magots Cafe in Paris writing and feel the earth move. An accidental critic of sorts, you curiously pioneered the...

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Q & A with Andrew Friedman

Posted on Apr 26, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Having co-authored over sixteen of the best cookbooks and counting, Andrew Friedman seems content being the sideman to some of New York’s most celebrated chefs.  While we often overlook those who play the part of co-writer, chefs like Alfred Portale, Jimmy Bradley, Tom Valenti & Michael Lomonaco faithfully rely on Andrew’s seamless ability to translate their whimsical inventions into user-friendly recipes.  From beginnings as publicist with no formal food training and a serious junk food habit, Andrew jumped at the chance to collaborate on Alfred Portale’s Gotham Bar And Grill cookbook, which went on to earn a Beard nomination for “Best Cookbook”.  He was hooked.  After a crash course in food at the French Culinary Institute, he’s been knee deep in cookbooks since.  Finally, he steps into the limelight: What did you want to be when you grew up?...

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Q & A with Chanterelle’s David Waltuck

Posted on Apr 18, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

A 25 year stint with no end in sight, Chanterelle has ripened into a Tribeca dining institution.  Husband-and-wife team, Karen & David Waltuck, have charmed their way into New Yorker’s hearts (not an easy task), with refined French fare & unrelenting hospitality.  Voted “Outstanding Restaurant” 2004 by the James Beard Foundation & #13 in Adam Platt’s “101 Best New Restaurants 2006“, Chanterelle shows no signs of fading anytime soon.  While the menu changes monthy highlighting seasonal and local sources, the grilled seafood sausage signature remains a superior fixture.  Spring brings earthy offerings, like green asparagus flan with fresh morels and bass saute with sweet onions, curry and basil.  Though you get what you pay for – read deliciously expensive – the “lighter of wallet can indulge in the $42 prix fixe lunch. What did you want to be when...

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Q & A With Tom Valenti

Posted on Apr 12, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

The Modern American Ouest finally belongs to its rightful owner, Tom Valenti, the accomplished chef behind the Upper West Side restaurant’s success.  An undeniably fickle neighborhood to open any restaurant, never mind a serious one, Tom Valenti seamlessly opened to much success and an  impressive “Best New Restaurant” nod from NYM’s Adam Platt 2002.  Cozy enough to earn the label neighborhood go-to and yet polished enough to become a regular culinary destination, Ouest offers everything from braised veal breast with sweetbreads to homey meatloaf on Sundays. TALES FROM THE INSIDE – Valenti, who left ‘Cesca in January 2006, decided to offer the buy out of both Ouest and ‘Cesca after an impass with his partners over a project in Atlantic City.  Certain parties incorrectly represented Valenti as a participant in a branch of ‘Cesca there.  Without Valenti, ‘Cesca didn’t...

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Q & A With Joe Bastianich

Posted on Apr 2, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Joe Bastianich’s partnership with Mario Batali continues to prove a magical combination, resulting in a wildly successful restaurant empire, including Lupa, Babbo, Otto & Del Posto to name just a few.  The son of Lidia Bastianich (owner of three-star restaurant Felidia) and reared in the restaurant world, it streams through Joe’s blood.  In addition to being a triumphant restaurateur, he not only owns NYC wine shop, Italian Wine Merchants, but also boasts two vineyards in Italy and co-authored the best-selling wine book, Vino Italiano.  While Bastianich has preferred to remain “behind the scenes” at his other haunts, he seems to  venture into the front of the house at Del Posto to play host, even known to sing a little opera on Saturday’s when the mood is right. While I was initially frightened away by the whole landlord brouhaha (Del...

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Q & A With Wayne Nish

Posted on Mar 21, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Par for the course for veterans on the restaurant battlefield these days, Wayne Nish has reshaped his menu to appeal to a hipper palate and clientele.  What was March (New American) has morphed into modern fusion at the now casual Nish, still located in the same serene Sutton Place townhouse.  Deemed one of the “founding fathers” of fusion, Wayne Nish plays with global flavors with a strong inclination toward all things Asian.  With a menu that requires a glossary, Nish isn’t meant for the impatient dining set.   But I quickly determined that patience is a virtue over a dinner that which included a delicate sashimi of hirame, sweet lobster and silky bay scallops.  The top-notch cheese service from an elusive and a charming outdoor terrace make Nish irresistible come spring.  What did you want to be when you...

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Q & A With Chris Santos

Posted on Mar 15, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

It’s not easy to stay fashionable in such a fussy city, but The Stanton Social opened with a bang and has been going strong ever since.  Chef Chris Santos has succeeded in luring the young & hungry to the Lower East Side for a multi-cultural menu of shared plates for almost two years. (That’s like ten in restaurant years.)  Chris has even managed to make french onion soup a social experience with an inspired dumpling version.  And let’s not overlook the fact that Chris was doing sliders – barbecued pulled-pork & kobe – before it was even in trendy.  Just who is this tattooed chef behind these savory bites? What did you want to be when you grew up? Initially a rock ‘n’ roll drummer. I grew up in the hair metal 80’s and boy you should have seen...

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Q & A With Bill Telepan

Posted on Mar 6, 2007 in Chef Q&A, Chef Q&A Recipes

Before opening his eponymous seasonal American restaurant on NYC’s Upper West Side, chef-owner Bill Telepan put his time in at kitchens like Gotham Bar & Grill, Le Bernardin and Judson Grill.  At Telepan, he brings elegance to coddled eggs, dishing them out at dinner atop scrapple.  Bill was a Greenmarketeer before it was even cool.  He’s somehow managed to lure downtowners north of 42nd Street and simultaneously please the impossibly fickle Upper West Sider. What did you want to be when you grew up? An electrical engineer or a rock guitar player How did you get into food? I worked in various restaurants while in high school and really liked it. So I decided on it as a career. Oh, and I liked to eat What was your first job in food? At the County Sweet Shoppe in my...

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