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Q & A With Josh Emett

Some might find Gordon Ramsay intimidating (to say the least,) but
for Josh Emett, the chef de cuisine for all of the NYC Gordon Ramsay
restaurants, Gordon Ramsay instills confidence and prowess, not fear.
Josh joined the UK Ramsay team in 2000, starting as senior chef de
partie at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea and then shifting to Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s.
In the fall of 2006, Josh left his homestead for NYC at The London to
take part in the Ramsay transformation.  Now overseeing as many as 60
chefs, Josh reigns his multiple kitchens, varying from casual/bar fare
to exquisite fine dining.  At maze, diners feast upon honey and soy roasted quail with sauteed foie gras and spiced pear chutney, while at Gordon Ramsay, indulge in a roasted cannon of Colorado lamb with confit shoulder, olive crusted tomatoes, vidalia onions and lamb jus.   

Status: Single/Married/Divorced
Divorced

What did you want to be when you grew up?
Park ranger

What was your first job in food?
At 15 at Wilson Carlile, a retirement home back in New
Zealand, serving dinner to all the old ladies for two hours, 5 nights a week –
it was a very well paid job, I really enjoyed it.

You believe being committed to physical fitness contributes
to your performance in the kitchen. How
does physical fitness translate into life in the kitchen?

I definitely think physical
fitness is a huge part in a job where there are long hours and a lot of stress
is involved – healthy body, healthy mind, that sort of approach.

Growing up on a farm, you had access to many seasonal
ingredients. What ingredients do you use now that you credit to your
upbringing?

Vegetables in general, but definitely working with game as well, products
like duck, rabbit, squab, and quail, which I spent a lot of time around and
hunted when I was young.

Your restaurant’s owner, Gordon Ramsay, is infamous for his
kitchen temper. Have you fallen victim
to what’s been portrayed on television?

I believe in running things with a
very firm hand in order to get results, but I am pretty fair about things. I have 60 chefs in NY and things needs to be
controlled.

You spent many years in England ,
working in The Savoy Grill and Banquette before crossing the Atlantic to become chef de cuisine at The London. How does the NYC restaurant scene compare to the UK’s?…

New York and London
are two very different cultures and restaurant scenes, but I love both for very
different reasons.  In the US, there’s more available in terms of
restaurants in the middle range, whereas that’s where London is weaker.  In London, you have a lot of
choices in the top end, but you pay for it.

You oversee the Gordon Ramsay restaurants that range from
fine dining (Gordon Ramsay at The London) to casual food (maze). Is this extreme variation in formality
challenging?

Not so much – we use the same techniques in cooking, though in fine
dining, there is more on the plate so there is more emphasis on balance and the
refining of flavours, whereas maze is based around smaller plates with fewer
components, so the flavours need to be more pronounced and robust.

What’s your favorite dish on The London’s menu, and why?
The
veal dish we put on the menu in fine dining today: Fillet of Wisconsin veal,
Tramazzini bread and chilled foie gras, summer truffle vinaigrette. It’s fantastic – wrapped in bread, classic
flavours and quite rich but nicely balanced.

What’s your least favorite dish (and yes, you must pick
one)?

Tough question…I suppose the
poached lobster in fine dining. It’s really a nice dish though I think I’m a
bit bored of lobster lately.

What is your junk food of choice?
Fish fingers

Other than your own, what’s your favorite restaurant in NYC?
Quality Meats

What culinary trend do you most embrace?
Not sure – I use too many micro herbs
maybe, but the products are really nice these days so I take advantage of that
while I can.

What trend do you wish would die already?
I love cupcakes
but I don’t like queuing for them.

What’s next on the horizon for you? Any new ventures or restaurants in the works? Spill the
beans…

We just opened in Los Angeles this week – Gordon
Ramsay at The London West Hollywood – which I have been working on for the last
year. I will oversee as Executive Chef, and
Andy Cook will head up the kitchen out there day to day. I’m excited to be able to spend time in LA
while also continuing to head up the kitchen here in New York. With the LA restaurant, we’re really looking to offer the city something
fresh and unique that still reflects the level of quality and consistency that
Gordon is known for. The menu is very
much inspired by California
produce, which is really exciting for us as the quality and range of
ingredients available out on the West Coast is amazing.

 
Address: 151 W 54th St., btwn 6th & 7th Aves.
Phone: (212)
468-8888

Until we eat again,
Restaurant Girl
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