Meet & Eat: Joey Campanaro, Kenmare

Meet and Eat: NY

Conversations with chefs and food personalities in New York City.

20100307JoeyCampanaro.jpgJoey Campanaro's love for cooking started from time he spent in the kitchen with his family. After studying restaurant management and soaking up Europe's cuisine and culture, Joey returned to the states to work in kitchens across the country, winding up at the helm of The Harrison in 2001. Since then, Joey opened his first restaurant, The Little Owl, and next collaborated with Mike Price to open Market Table. Now, he's got restaurant number three—Kenmare, which opened in late March. Despite the long hours associated with opening a new restaurant, Joey took some time to answer a few of our questions.

Name: Joey Campanaro
Location: Nolita and the West Village
Occupation: Chef/Restaurateur

When did you first realize that you wanted to become a chef? My first boss was a chef, and I always wanted to be the boss—so I guess, when I was 12 years old.

Who has had the greatest influence on your cooking style? My mother Patricia, her mother, Rosie Bova, and chef Jonathan Waxman.

Tell us about Kenmare. The menu is a greatest-hit list of dishes and styles of putting together dishes seasonally. I'm really into the chicken dish called "The Chicken," with grilled escarole, smoked chicken confit, and butter beans. I also go down to Chinatown every day and buy a bunch whole fish there and run it for a special. When you come in and we have it, I would get the whole fish.

Why did you decide to carry over the meatball sliders from The Little Owl? So I can eat them there too. Call it a vice, but it's always nice to be able knock back a few meatballs when I need that fix.

If you could put together a three course meal with dishes from any NYC restaurants, what would they be? The langustines at Soto, paella at Socarrat, and the prime rib at Minetta Tavern.

What are your favorite local hangouts or places you might be considered a regular? Perry Street for lunch, Daddy-o's for drinks, and Soto for my Japanese fix

Best late-night eats, both out and at home? Joe's Pizza on Carmine Street—especially when they are busy.
Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant/bar recommendations. Who's yours? Jonathan Waxman.

What's the best recommendation he/she has given you? He sent me to Rockpool in Australia.