Place of birth
Where are your current restaurants?
TFL and Bouchon are in New York City. We also have a Bouchon in Las Vegas.
What is the most exciting, receptive city for today’s extraordinary chefs?
San Francisco, New York, London, Paris, Sydney — any major metropolitan city with a confluence of different ethnicities and backgrounds is most likely to have exciting restaurants and cutting-edge chefs. People who are exposed to this type of environment are more open to different types of cuisine, to different styles of chefs.
Would you ever steal a special recipe from another chef? You need to practice constantly and study the classical composers before you begin composing your own music
There is no need to steal; chefs are very generous with their recipes. I contacted Chef Raymond Blanc of Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons in England for an amazing beer bread recipe he makes, and he shared it with me, no questions asked. When we hoard our ideas, we end up losing. Chefs should be constantly interacting and sharing with each other. This is a dynamic industry; the exchange of ideas is how we stay vibrant and in tune with people’s changing tastes.
You need to practice constantly and study the classical composers before you begin composing your own music
If you could cook for anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
What was the most shocking incident in one of your restaurants?
That we had to close Per Se five days after opening because of an electrical fire in the kitchen.
How relevant is Escoffier to the contemporary chef?
Escoffier remains as important today as he has been in the past. You need a strong foundation of the classics before you start creating your own. It reminds me of learning to play the piano: You need to practice constantly and study the classical composers before you begin composing your own music.
Is Spain’s Ferran Adria momentarily or finally displacing France’s #1 position in culinary supremacy?
Ferran is a genius at what he does, and his style has definitely been a big influence on our generation of chefs. He will be a driving force for many more years to come.
Are you orthodox about natural as opposed to synthesized ingredients?
We have been strong supporters of sustainable and organic agriculture since the very beginning. Part of being a chef is the need to be a responsible consumer; the decisions we make affect not only what gets served on our tables, but what gets produced by our farmers. We need constantly to take stock of the ecological impact of our eating habits.
What would be your last meal?
I would celebrate it with family and my closest friends.