Having begun his career over twenty years ago at Odeon, Marc Meyer has since become quite an entrepreneur. With restaurateur and wife Vicki Freeman, the pair own and operate three thriving NYC restaurants – Provence, Cookshop, and Five Points – a significant feat in one of the world’s most fickle cities. While they succeed at mixing business and pleasure, Meyer concedes to a bit of time in couples therapy during the launch of Five Points.
Five Points’ brunch has such a cult following that it compelled Meyer to write a book on the very subject. But most recently, the chef’s been spending time in the kitchen at his latest venture, Provence, where he serves a grilled pork loin with apricots, blueberries and radicchio as well as wild striped bass with corn pudding and corn & tomato salsa.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an architect.
What was your first job in food?
first job was at the Odeon, working for Patrick Clark.
Your first executive chef position was at Brasserie Savoy in San Francisco. What
was the impetus for leaving the West Coast for Manhattan?
We moved to NYC
because my then wife’s family lives in New Jersey,
and she wanted the kids to grow up nearby; California was too far away.
How did you meet your wife?
Vicki hired me to work in the kitchen of her
When did your relationship turn from professional to romantic?
In 1993 when
I gave notice at Vix, we knew that our feelings and emotions about working at
separate places were too strong to be a professional relationship.
Does working side by side with your significant other ever
Absolutely. Actually, during the first year of opening Five
Points, we had to go to couples’ therapy. Now that we have three restaurants
together, we’ve gotten pretty used to it. I suppose it’s because I spend most
of my time in the kitchen, while she is on the floor. We always joke that if we
worked in the kitchen together, there’d be trouble.
Running three prominent New York restaurants, what do you think your secret to success is?
We are very involved
in all of our restaurants on a day-to-day basis. We really evaluate every
component of our restaurants to ensure our guests are having an all-around
Seeing as you were at the forefront of the Greenmarket revolution, what do ingredients do you look forward to implementing in your autumn menus?
I love this time of year
because, depending on the weather of course, there is a little of everything.
You have peaches, raspberries, apples, pears, grapes and I’m a huge fan of
You launched the re-opening of Provence with Chef Lynn McNeely in the kitchen. What transpired that led to his departure? Who’s presently running the kitchen as well as the pastry?
Lynn’s departure was mutual. I am currently
overseeing the kitchen at Provence.
With your bi-coastal restaurant entrepreneurial experience, any chance you’ll be opening restaurants in any other US cities?
We can never say never, but we really like to have a presence in all of
our restaurants which would be difficult with restaurants on different coasts.
What’s your favorite dish on Provence’s menu right now, and why?
I love the seafood stew.
What’s your least favorite dish (and yes, you must pick one)?
My least favorite is the buffala mozzarella sandwich.
What is your junk food of choice?
Other than your own, what’s your favorite restaurant in NYC?
What culinary trend do you most embrace?
The trend of using seasonal and local ingredients.
What trend do you wish would die already?
The trend of molecular gastronomy.
What’s next on the horizon for you? Any new ventures or restaurants in the works? Spill the beans…
We have our hands full at the moment!
Until we eat again,
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