May 25, 2011

Gramercy Tavern: MICHAEL ANTHONY

Acclaimed chef Michael Anthony has bridged the divide between town and country in both his career and his cooking, innovating traditional “classics” with his contemporary and “New American” approach to the culinary world. Chef Anthony made a name for himself when he served as the executive chef at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns, in Westchester, NY, where he was introduced to the wonders of cooking with locally sourced, farmed ingredients. Now at our personal favorite NYC restaurant, Gramercy Tavern, Chef Anthony brings the freshest of food from local farmers to the chic Manhattan tables in Gramercy. However, it was through an international affair that Chef Anthony first realized his life direction--with degrees in Business, French, and Japanese form Indiana University, Chef Anthony began work in a Tokyo restaurant under chef Shizuyo Shima, where he was ultimately inspired to follow his talent and enroll in the renowned culinary school, Le Ferrandi, in Paris. After learning in some of Paris’ most esteemed kitchens, Chef Anthony returned to New York with stints at Daniel and March, and took over at Blue Hill Stone Barns in 2002.  In 2006, Anthony moved into business with restauranteur Danny Meyer, and took over the helm of Gramercy Tavern from chef Tom Colicchio. And if his windy road of accomplishments isn’t enough, in both 2008 and this year Chef Anthony was nominated for the James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef in New York City chef among  impressive peers such as April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig, Wylie Dufresne of wd~50, Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune and Michael White of Marea. 

So, we are left with two questions: 1. Can we trade lives with Chef Anthony? and 2. When can he cook for us next?

Where did you learn to cook? 
I worked in restaurants for fun in high school and college, but my first professional cooking job was in a French/Japanese bistro in Tokyo called Bistro Shima. 

Your culinary style: 
Contemporary American. 

What did you eat for breakfast? 
Oatmeal—leftovers from my 16 month old daughter. 

Most important quality in a chef: 

Earliest indicator that a meal will be a success: 
When a customer’s head starts to nod at the table. 

What is your greatest cooking fear? 
I’m not ready to face those fears yet… 

Chef you most admire: 
Pascal Barbot. 

What makes you laugh? 
My three daughters. 

Seasoning that most inspires you: 
Wild ginger. 

What would your last supper be? 
Soft shell crabs cooked in any style. 

Favorite late-night indulgence: 

Best farmer’s market in NYC: 
Union Square Greenmarket. 

Restaurant you frequent most in NYC: 
Sushi Yasuda.

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