Chef Daniel Boulud closed down DB Bistro Moderne for a bit to give it an interior facelift and his new executive chef—Jim Burke from Philadelphia—plenty of time to test and revamp the new menu. We talk about how you remake a French classic that's already been a hit in your bistro for over ten years, and how to work with seasonal ingredients minus the trend factor.
'We Chat With' on Serious Eats
Katz's Deli has been a New York institution since 1888, and third-generation owner Jake Dell is celebrating with a beautiful new book out this week, Autobiography of a Delicatessen. We talked about Jake's history with growing up in a deli, the celebrity clientele flanking the tables, and how Katz's is so much more than just pastrami on rye.
Chef Richard Kuo has worked at wd-50, Corton and Seasonal, so you'd expect him to be at least interested in what kitchen science has contributed to the current landscape of cuisine in New York. But his interest goes even further, and while he appreciates how much technology can open up his budget so he can rely on less hands and better ingredients, at his core he focuses on rules and patterns to make sure his dishes come out exactly as he wants them, every time they're made. We dove into where this kind of passion came from, and how it comes to us at the table.
Chef Erik Ramirez is pushing the boundaries of Peruvian food at Raymi, the cool and cavernous space in the Flatiron district. While he dreams of indigenous ingredients he can't find up here, he works to bring together his extensive culinary background with the flavors he grew up with. We caught up on how he makes that happen.
Chef Paul Gerard opened up Exchange Alley in the East Village the day the hurricane hit, so he opened his doors and gave his food away. Now he welcomes diners in for a very old-school ambiance and flavor-forward, simple menu in a restaurant he says he can run by himself if any other disaster hits his hometown. We caught up with Gerard on what his village history means to him, how sharply the food scene here has changed, and how he brings old and new New York together on a plate.
Chef Elizabeth Faulkner of San Francisco's wildly popular Citizen Cake moved out to open Krescendo in Brooklyn and then left in in less than a year, which floored some people in the serious eating and food media worlds. Now, at the newly opened Corvo Bianco in what was once the Upper West Side's iconic Endicott Hotel lobby, she's serving up plates both ambitious and comforting, and logging in long days to develop her menu just right for the extremely wanting neighborhood.
Ron Ben-Israel changed the course of celebration cakes when he threw out plastic columns and satin ribbons and starting molding sugar in unconventional ways. We caught up with him on where creation comes from and what it takes to make it in New York.
Chef Chris Cheung is a born and bred New Yorker with some serious roots in Chinese cuisine, both here and abroad. We caught up on how that comes together with the classic French technique he's worked with at Jean-Georges and other fine-dining establishments, the changing landscape of Chinese cuisine now, and how he hopes that will all manifest for him in the future.
Chef Vanessa Miller was part of the team that opened The Dalloway in Soho in only one month, despite that fact that she's never worked in New York before and had a lot of catching up to do. Her small plates won over patrons and bits of press but, at only 25, she's well aware that her palate and preferences are still nowhere near set. We chatted with Chef Vanessa about what that experience was like and how being young sometimes gives the advantage.
We've now interviewed around 100 of New York's most prominent chefs and shakers, and sometimes the depth of our conversation even surprises us. This week we share a collection of the answers to a question we ask outside of what we've printed before: "What has cooking taught you about yourself that you've had to overcome?"
Chef Michael Psilakis is no stranger to restaurant openings and intense food, but his newly opened MP Taverna comes with the added challenge of it's location being in the heart of Astoria. We chatted with Psilakis on what Greek food means to him now, what it meant when he first started cooking and where he still wants the conversation on Greek cuisine to go.
Chef Lisa Giffen is working on taking Maison Premiere's fish-heavy menu to the next level, adding some rich meat dishes and some fun plays on French flavors. We chatted about how she's adapted from being just another cook to running her own kitchen.
Marco Canora's ten years at Hearth have mellowed him out in more ways than one. We chatted with him about developing relationships with staff and diners, and how getting more hands-off made him a better chef.
Sue Torres has held Suenos at a level of success for ten years, and she hasn't opened a second restaurant anywhere else at any time. Instead, she has the kind of faith in her staff that only comes with a long restaurant run, so that she can sometimes leave the kitchen to take an unrelated cooking class or go on a hike, where she says much of her creativity stems. We talked with her about her introduction to Mexican cooking and where she thinks the cuisine is going in New York.
Victor LaPlaca is no stranger to heading up a big kitchen, as he spent much of his prior 17 years cooking with Todd English at his many international restaurants. Nor was he shy when remaking what was previously the restaurant Imperial No. 9, which wasn't exactly beloved by critics. He's the kind of chef you love knowing is making your food—he's personally warm, sharply dedicated and extremely talented at using products to their fullest advantage. We sat down in that light-filled space to chat about his transition to Isola, where his strongest influences truly came from, and what cooking taught him about himself.
This weekend, June 8th and 9th, over 100,000 eaters will flood Madison Avenue for the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party. For the eleventh year, 18 of the country's best pit masters serving up whole hogs, ribs, pulled pork, brisket, and other cuts. Live music and lots of booze promise it'll once again be one hell of a party. Dinosar Bar-B-Cue's John Stage is one of the pit masters repping NYC; here he talks to us about what got him into this world, and shares details on his new Brooklyn restaurant.
Tucked away in Gowanus, Chef Angelo Romano has a place of his own at The Pines, where a casual outdoor menu and indoor one that pushes a few borders match with chef-driven cocktails and a casual setting. Here he talks about what it takes to be the chef behind a chef-driven menu, and why Gowanus is where he's happy to plant his stake.
Sarah Simmons runs a culinary salon out of a space that's an antique store by day. Some nights she's executing a themed menu of her own. Others she's on the line cooking with chefs from all over the country, giving them an opportunity to stand in the spotlight for New York's hungriest eaters and media personnel. But with six years of supper club hosting at her back and a huge boost from Food and Wine magazine, this consultant-turned-chef is more than able to take it all on. Here she tells us how she does it, and why.
Chef Wolfgang Ban has a large laugh, a joyful sense of play, and a serious menu at his Michelin-starred Seasonal in midtown, as well as his downtown Edi and the Wolf and The Third Man spots. With his roots in western Austria heavily influencing his menus, he's lived in New York for over ten years and easily calls it home. We caught up with Wolfgang about what it takes to keep a fine dining restaurant relevant over time, how his corner of Austria is a melting pot not dissimilar to New York, and what the word 'hospitality' actually means.
This month Chef Daniel Boulud celebrates the 20th anniversary of his first New York restaurant, Daniel. With seven restaurants covering a wide range of French cuisine in New York alone and another seven restaurants worldwide, the result of all that intensity and focus has given him much to celebrate. And while we've been given generous glimpses into the festivities, it was his reflections on the New York scene in those 20 years and his part in it that we were most curious about. Here's what we found out.