Friday, SEPTEMBER 7, 20
feast or fashion jean-georges vongerichten & reid kastyn
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On the cover: Reid Kastyn shot by Giorgio Niro; Styled by Shane Cisneros; Hair and makeup by Aeriel Payne/Contact NYC; Dress: Oscar de la Renta; Jewelry: H. Stern; Shoes: Manolo Blahnik
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Leave it to Oscar to start the week off right. The legend was honored with the FIT Couture Council's Artistry of Fashion Award, and he brought his nearest and dearest to celebrate over lunch at Lincoln Center. ☛ Much further downtown, Ben Watts celebrated his new collaging app WattsUpPhoto for the Android’s HTC phone with models, muses, and even sis Naomi at Milk.
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BEN WATTS Bash ROCK ALERT! Meatpacking District haute spot Beaumarchais is hosting an exhibition of work by photographer Mick Rock from September 3-15—and don’t forget to drop by the Beau Lounge, a pop-up/ gifting suite open from noon to 5 p.m. from September 10-12. Plus! On September 13, don’t miss Fergie’s Wet & Wild party.
Ever ended up with three pairs of YSL cage booties in your closet…and you only really need deux? Enter Julie Wainwright, who Nina Garcia decided to merge consignment with flash sales in her brilliant new ecommerce site, TheRealReal.com. What’s the concept? I founded the site because I love to shop consignment, but I only love really beautiful designer items. It was too much work to go DRINK OF THE DAILY! store by store, and it was too hard to conDesperate to unwind? Join the sign as well. What if you could shop 24/7 at the best possible luxury consignment club. Here’s your idea du jour: store…on the Internet? All the competitors Belvedere Blossom Mule who have launched after us have been fo2 oz Belvedere Vodka cused on lower-end merchandise, but the ¾ oz lime juice brands we sell—Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana, Dash simple syrup Gucci—should be displayed in a way that Dash Angostura Bitters speaks to their integrity. How much merchandise have you sold, personally, on the site? Well, I’ve made over $20,000 in a year, just HUNGRY? HELP IS HERE! from things that for one reason or another, I no longer needed. Are you worried about those overWhat’s the process? worked, underfed models? Fear no Our consigners clean their closet at regular more! Walgreens is taking over the intervals, and we have sales merchandise cafes at Milk and offering up fresh managers in every single major market. sandwiches, fruit cups, and more to Just email us at email@example.com. If showgoers and mannequins alike. It you have 10 or more items, we can send will also cater all shows and presensomeone over to work with you and clean tations happening there with yummy out your closet, or New Yorkers can just treats from “Nice!” and “Good & Delleave it with their doorman! We’ll move ish” brands. Save us some snackage! your things to the New York Warehouse, and we’ll notify you when they will be put in a sale. If we price things right, they’ll sell in the first 15 minutes. We’ll have 10 to 15,000 people looking at the sales when they first go live. Some people consign, buy on the site, and re-consign! We’re like a mini-ecosystem.
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jean-georges dishes it OUT WITH THE DAILY!
Heâ€™s one of the biggest names in food, even though you may not be able to pronounce it. Jean-Georges Vongerichten (von-ger-ick-ten) has built an empire in New York and beyond with his artfully assembled dishes, fervor for fresh ingredients, sublimely decorated spaces, and spot-on service. But like everyone else, he still has to deal with the critics! BY ALEXANDRA ILYASHOV PHOTOGRAPHY BY GIORGIO NIRO
fa s h i o n w e e k d A i l y. c o m
Vongerichten with model, Reid Kastyn in an Oscar de la Renta dress and a Lucifer Von Honestus ring at JeanGeorgeâ€™s restaurant
In January, I’ll have been cooking for 40 years, and I’m still as passionate and committed as when I started.”
Kastyn in an Oscar de la Renta dress and Manolo Blahnik shoes Stylist: Shane Cisneros/ShaneCisneros.com Hair & Makeup: Aeriel Payne/Contact NYC
Do you like food critics? I like them all, because you have to like them a little bit! The New York Times is still the bible, but I get used to each critic’s writing style, since they’re there for at least three to four years. I look forward to their reviews—although I get very stressed if it’s about one of my restaurants! Are you skilled at spotting them? I have a laser eye! [makes the sound of a laser]. Every restaurant has four or five pictures of each critic, and we have to update them often. Pete Wells could be skinny one day, and then on another, he’s not. They could have glasses or a beard! But even when you do spot them, it’s already too late: If a critic comes in at 8:30 p.m. and my fish is rotten, I’m done. If my sauces or combinations don’t taste right, there’s nothing I can do. Who has been your favorite Times critic? The people who have put me on the map! I came to New York in 1986 to work at Lafayette, and Bryan Miller gave me my first three-star review that same year. I got a four-star review in ’88. At the time, I was 29-years-old, which made me the youngest chef to get a four-star review in The Times. Bryan is my God! How quickly did that impact you? It changed my life completely—I was on CNN the next day— and it helped me stay in New York. I was only supposed to be here for three years and then move on. But I couldn’t leave after that; I felt like I’d conquered the city, so I established my name here. Which other critics were useful? Gael Greene really helped me, because she trashed me in her first review, saying I was yet another new French chef arriving in town, cooking with too much cream and butter. New Yorkers don’t like to eat that way, she said—and she was right! New Yorkers go to restaurants every single day, so they don’t always need something really elaborate. So my menu got lighter, and lunch only lasted one hour instead of three! When else have reviews helped you make necessary changes? Around 2003 and 2004, I was on a roll, but I was going a little too fast. I opened three new places in New York within nine months: a Chinese restaurant, 66; Spice Market; and V, a steakhouse. It wasn’t like opening a few little bistros; they were major. Did you sleep at all? I slept just fine! So what caused the flack? Some of the critics really wanted the chef to be in one kitchen. Today, the mindset is more open: people realize the business is very fragile, and margins are small. You have to do multiples if you want to make a good living. For me, it’s not about money. Once you’ve got two or three restaurants, you’ve got to find great sous chefs. Luckily, not everyone wants to open their own restaurants. I like pushing young talent ahead—and my chefs stay with me for a long time. My chef at The Mark has been with me since ’85; my chef at Jean Georges, since ’87, the president of my company has been with me since ’86, and my chef at Mercer Kitchen, since ’99. What’s the backstory on your concepts? I’d spent five years of my life in Asia, so I was very confident about 66 and Spice Market. Because we’d opened a steakhouse in Vegas, Prime, which was very, very successful, I decided to reinvent the steakhouse with V. I tried to give them a different Caesar salad, deconstructed; 10 meats, 10 sauces, 10 types of potatoes. The response was pretty harsh—everybody hated it! I learned that you shouldn’t touch a national treasure like the steakhouse. The rent was very high, and it became too expensive to keep it up. After being open for two years, we still hadn’t broken even. Usually the first two years in business are the best. If they’re not, where do you go from there? There’s no reason to rent a restaurant space for 15 years and hope that you’ll break even.
What does it feel like to close a restaurant? It hurts! You dream it, build it, then it comes alive, and then you close it up. Everyone gets affected: I worked with an architect from France on V and had 25 brass trees made, with chandeliers hanging from all the trees. It was like eating a steak in the park! It was gorgeous, but it was maybe a little too feminine for the boys. What do New Yorkers want in a restaurant? New Yorkers want food to be delicious and simple— they want to trace where their food comes from. ABC Kitchen’s success shows that. There’s no elBulli or Fat Duck in New York. When New Yorkers travel, they want to eat that way, though—it truly makes it a trip. You fly into Barcelona, drive in a car for three hours, go to elBulli, spend a lot of money, and have a memory. You sound like a very hands-on chef. I’m involved in every candle, the flowers, the salt, the salt bowls...these are rosewood, with motherof-pearl spoons. A lot of people steal them, believe it or not. So don’t even think about it! [laughs] How important is décor? It’s very important that the food matches the place. Just look at ABC Kitchen: there’s reclaimed wood, plus mismatched plates and silverware. I learned how much that matters from critics, actually! What’s the most harmonious matching of food and ambiance? Spice Market and ABC Kitchen each match especially well. People need direction—they don’t want to go to a restaurant and feel like they’re not sure where they are! To make a restaurant into a successful business, you need to guide your customers through the experience. Do you care what people wear to your restaurants? Jean Georges is one of the last places in New York where a jacket is required in the back room. It’s my only formal restaurant. If a diner doesn’t pay attention and shows up without a jacket, other people will complain. So we keep 12 jackets in a closet in the front. Sometimes, we’ll just put a jacket on the back of their chair, so it looks like they just got hot and took the jacket off. It’s good to keep things from being too casual—but that only applies to the back room, not the café in the front. You can have haute couture over here and prêt-à-porter over there, in the same place: I like it that way! Do you ever disagree with a review of one of your restaurants? No, I usually agree. Even with V Steakhouse, I agreed with the reviews. Yes, I wanted to open another restaurant, but it shouldn’t have been a steakhouse. If we had opened something else, like a Continental restaurant, I think it would have worked. Which restaurant concept worried you most? I’m always worried! I wake up every morning feeling worried. Every day, I think, I could wake up, the whole thing will collapse, and I’m going to take my suitcase and go back to France. That’s just my nature! But by the time I’ve showered, gone to the Union Square market, and arrived at my office, I feel better. How has technology evolved food critics’ clout? The public’s voice can be very important—300 people can give you feedback online before the critics arrive.
But a critic can still make or break a restaurant. Do you keep tabs on the Eaters, Yelp-ers, and such? I make my GMs print out the reviews every week. You have a bunch of reviews when you first open, but to survive, you have to be consistent. No one will be coming in if you got a four-star review and then they don’t hear anything about you for five years! Which sites do you rely on? OpenTable has become very important. At all of my restaurants, 50 to 60 percent of our reservations are made there. People who are mad or excited about their meal will answer the survey in OpenTable’s emails afterwards; we often get five surveys a day. I make my managers and GMs read them. Speaking of, what’s the secret to scoring a reservation? When you go to ABC Kitchen, make another reservation on your way out. If you’re right there and you’re probably going to come back in two weeks, pick a date, and don’t take no for an answer. Don’t tell too many people! How has your cooking evolved? In January, I’ll have been cooking for 40 years, and I’m still as passionate and committed as when I started. Every day I observe the restaurant to make sure everyone looks happy and the water glasses are all filled. I tell my staff to do the same. Otherwise, a customer will write us a letter. I’m in this business to please people! What are your customer service secrets? If we don’t see a regular customer come in for a few months, we call them! If somebody is coming in every week, then gone for a month, and they’re not on vacation, we find out. We want you back. Where do you spend the most time? At Jean Georges, my flagship. When you put your name on the door, you want to be there as much as you can. I usually start in my office in the morning, then I’ll head to Jean Georges, where I stay through dinner until 8:30 or 9:00 p.m. Then I’ll go to one of my other restaurants, like The Mark, or ABC Kitchen, or Perry St. I have the best job in the world! How big is the Jean-Georges empire by now? We have over 2,000 people working for my restaurant group in New York, and another 4,000 people worldwide. There are 10 restaurants in New York, and 33 in total. I only directly run the New York restaurants, plus one in Paris—I don’t run the businesses for the other locations. We just opened Mercato, an Italian place in Shanghai. Is there anywhere we’ll probably never see a Jean-Georges outpost? I’ve said in the past that I’d never open a restaurant in St. Barths, because that’s my vacation place—my little France away from France. But then I accepted a job last year to do two restaurants there! So who knows?
JEAN-GEORGES CRITIQUES THE CRITICS Frank Bruni: “He is really unique, and reading his work was always entertaining. He gave me a couple of jabs, but he was always fair. He wrote some glowing reviews, and when they weren’t so glowing, he was right, at the time—and then we would adjust things. I don’t think he wrote enough about wine, though. That’s an important part of the experience—and wine is 35 percent of sales in my restaurants!” Pete Wells: “I like that he talks about the comfort level of the chairs—I’m a big chair guy! I like that he talks about wine a lot. His writing has lots of detail, and he describes the people around him during a meal. When I read Pete’s writing, I do really feel like I’m there. He’s still new, so we’ll have to see how his writing evolves.” Gael Greene: “She doesn’t hold anything back, which is good! I owe her a lot because she really helped me grow as a chef. It was a big slap in the face when she gave me a terrible review, but I took it like a man and changed what I was doing. Gael helped me become a New Yorker, and she knows it.” Ruth Reichl: “She was amazing, lovely, and very different from other critics. Ruth is a beautiful writer; very mellow, very flowery! She appreciated that I use a lot of foraging herbs in my cooking; I took a class with a forager upstate and in Central Park, even, though I didn’t want to use a lot of the herbs I found in Central Park because I was afraid dogs might have peed on them.” Alan Richman: “In 1991, Alan named Jean Georges the best new restaurant in America. He gave me great critiques for a while, but he likes for chefs to be in one kitchen only. I have too many ideas to be stuck in one place. When I opened two other places, he trashed me. I hid in bed for three days. It hurt, and I thought he was an asshole—and then I got back to work. Alan is part of the reason I was on a pedestal, and then he brought me back to reality. It was good for me. I came back stronger, and now we’re friends.”
ORDER LIKE THE CHEF! Here’s a crib sheet to Vongerichten’s personal musts on the menus at five of his outposts. Jean Georges: Yellowfin Tuna Ribbons [with avocado and spicy radish, ginger marinade] (top)“I eat it at least once a week; I couldn’t live without it!” ABC Kitchen: Crab Toast [with lemon aioli] The Mercer Kitchen: Black Truffle and Fontina Cheese Pizza Perry St: Rice Cracker Crusted Tuna [with sriracha-citrus emulsion] (middle) JoJo: Organic Chicken [roasted with olives, ginger, and coriander, with chick pea fries] INSET: FRANCESCO TONELLI
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ALAN RICHMAN A quarter-century on the GQ masthead and 15 James Beard awards later, the preeminent food critic Alan Richman is as saucy and unbridled as ever. BY ALEXANDRA ILYASHOV PHOTOGRAPHY BY GIORGIO NIRO
FA S H I O N W E E K D A I L Y. C O M
ow does humor factor into excellent writing; he only did it for a few years, but I told him food writing? that if he’d been The Times critic for another five Funny is good, but funny never wins years, he could’ve been the best one ever! anything. I have the occasional one-liner, but How about Sam Sifton? I’m not a humorist. My style is simple—I’m overrated Sifton is one of the most brilliant journalists of as a writer, and underrated our time. After his fabulous as a journalist and reporter. review about Masa, I wrote I’m a pretty straightforward him a note saying it was one storyteller, and there’s nothing of the most brilliant reviews wrong with that. I make my I’d ever read. It’s hard to do living by reporting the hell out first-person, it was his first of a story. I’m a better reporter review in that style, and he than any other food writer out was genius at it. I told him to there, although no one else will write all of his reviews that way. agree with that. And he didn’t! Do you feel pressure to give What does your research praise at GQ? entail? I have never, ever been treated I call chefs before I go on a in anything but the best way trip to find out what they’re journalistically. It’s staggering. working on and what’s exciting I once wrote a pretty mild story them in that city. I’ve gone to that completely pissed off the 10 restaurants over an eight or biggest liquor advertiser at nine day period. If I hate a place, Condé Nast. I heard stories that I’ll tend to leave it out. I’m not Si Newhouse had to apologize there to critique individual to this advertiser, but no one restaurants. If I find a key ever said a word about it to me. restaurant, I’ll eat there more Thoughts on today’s flock of than once. For a recent piece food critics? it was about San Francisco. I You’ll be surprised to know didn’t “make” the restaurant, that I admire them. But one but I really jumped on it. of the huge problems with How expensive are these food journalism, not criticism, trips? today is that 98 percent of it Very! And I’m cheap—I did What kind of cook are you? is puffery. Of the remaining an eight or nine day story on I’m not a graceful cook, I’m two percent, I probably write Tokyo and I told my editor I more of a crabby cook. I’m not one percent of that. It’s all spent $12,000, not including a pleasant person to be around about what’s the best and the airfare. My editor said, ‘Is that in the kitchen—I really have to greatest; there’s no sense of all?’ I’m very careful; I’ve never concentrate and I don’t want to skepticism, which journalism been questioned for a single talk to anybody. should always have. expense. Everyone accuses me What are your greatest hits? Is the current crop as talented of being cheap when they eat I can make food that my mother as their predecessors? out with me, in fact, and that’s knew how to cook. I do a poor Nobody doing it today partially because I never order man’s soup: It has beef bones, competes with the great, pure expensive wine. dried peas, carrots, a little celery, critics of the past, but I give How do you report? grated onions. It’s an almost-pea tons of credit to those who are I take notes under the table, soup. I also make my mother’s doing it well in a very tough things like that. Ruth Reichl said cheese blintzes, though they’re a economic environment with a she never had to take a note little better than my mother’s, I lot of pressure to be positive because she can remember have to say. But I haven’t been able about everything. everything—she has a much to make brisket as good as hers. Break down the current better mind than I do! I have How did she do brisket? critics! tricky ways of doing it, like A Jewish-French recipe: The I like [Pete] Wells, but I don’t doing it in the bathroom, for braising broth is half red wine and always like his choice of example. I have to steal menus half tomato sauce. restaurants. I wish he would sometimes, and I have very What else is in your entrée arsenal? love high-end restaurants as good ways of doing it. I’ve only My Chinese meatballs! I also make much as he loves restaurants been caught twice! the world’s best Brussels sprouts, behind garages. He’s a What was your proudest but I basically stole that recipe wonderful writer, though. menu theft? from Marc Vetri. I use butter, oil, Before him, I liked [Sam] Sifton I wanted to write about the salt, and pepper, and I burn them. and [Frank] Bruni, but I think wine list at one of the most Do Brussels really benefit from The Times is dead wrong to be famous restaurants in New having bacon? picking critics the way they do. York, and they had one of those No, no, no! There’s too much bacon Why? huge, thick, leather-bound in food! It’s just ridiculous, and it Because it’s become a perk. wine lists. Luckily, it fit in only started three or four years my backpack. ‘Oh, you’re really one of our ago. Only one out of 20 dishes best employees, we respect What’s your writing process? with bacon actually benefit from you—why don’t we honor you First I type out all of my notes, the bacon. with being a critic for a couple then I write a really fast first Do you ever follow recipes? of years?’ They’re all brilliant draft, which is garbage, but I’ve been making Julia Child’s people, and really good writers, it gets my ideas out. I do it cheese soufflé for 30 years. It’s but being a critic is something until I’ve written myself into a the greatest! else completely. I loved Bruni’s corner; sometimes it’s 1,000
ALAN IN THE KITCHEN!
FA S H I O N W E E K D A I L Y. C O M
words, other times it’s 3,000 words. Do you ever get tired of accepting awards? No. The best one was the first, of course—it was the first-ever James Beard Awards, and I had just started to do food writing for GQ. I was the happiest I’ve ever been, professionally. My most recent award was the second most exciting because I hadn’t won for a while—I’m not washed up, yet, I guess! I’m always happy as hell when I win, and depressed when I lose. When you lose to someone you hate, it feels twice as bad. Do you have more friends or enemies in the food writing world? I think I have more friends. Look, I’m not a horrible human being, even though some people think I am. So much of the criticism I get is people attacking me, when they should attack the story. It’s wrongheaded and immoral to attack the writer, and I don’t forgive some people for that. What do you think of fashion critics? Talk about mean! There seems to be free reign in American fashion criticism, where you can be as snarky as you want and people laugh. Cintra Wilson wrote that scathingly funny piece on J.C. Penney coming to New York in The Times. It was brilliant! Every time I saw her byline I would read it, and I don’t even follow fashion. If I was an editor of a Condé Nast magazine, I would’ve hired her in a minute. What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in 2012? My GQ roast in May has gotta be the best meal of my life! It was at Le Bernardin—I won’t say that’s the best restaurant in the world, but it’s been my favorite restaurant in the world for 25 years, and Jim Nelson bought it out for the occasion! I asked one of our PR people when my next roast was happening, and he said, ‘In about 20 years, when we’ve finished paying for this one.’ Ha! I get along wonderfully with Eric Ripert; he’s just brilliant. He let me pick the dishes, and then of course he didn’t like what I’d picked. Do chef friendships ever get awkward? It’s always weird to be friends with a chef. You have to be really careful. Once in a while, Eric will call me—I love hearing from him because he’ll tell me everything I’m doing wrong; he’s just hysterical. I’m good about keeping my distance, though. Do you keep it nicer with those chef pals? If I’ve known a chef for 20 years, maybe I’m not going to kill him in my writing. That might be the only corruption that’s happened to me over the years: a bit of compassion! I’ve done all the clobbering I need to do at this point. So you’re more mature nowadays? I’m as immature now as I ever was! How do you act when you’re dining on the clock? I try to be a decent dinner companion when I’m not working, but when I’m eating for a story, I’m a total slob. I pick food up with my hands, and I’ll reach over and grab something from someone else’s plate. I have a whole list of rules for when people are out to dinner with me for a story. What kind of rules? When I review, I’m completely passive. I sit there and let the restaurant do it all. New Yorkers instantly complain about everything, from turning down the music to turning up the lights. But I tell my dining companions that they cannot talk to a waiter except to answer their questions or to ask where the bathroom is. What’s up with your foray into academia? I’m the dean of food journalism at The French Culinary Institute, which now goes by the name, The International Culinary Center. As part of my position there, I can take any courses I want! So by the time I’m 90, I’m going to be the best cook in the whole wide world, basically.
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Ready to Own the Night? MAIS OUI!
You spend all day rushing from show to show, but come sunset, a bit of R&R is required, no? Enter Bon Appétit’s new Own the Night project, a collective of NYC’s hautest restaurants who have teamed up to introduce their new menus during the very week that designers debut their latest collections. Consider your dinner plans confirmed! THE DATES! Friday, September 7 through Thursday, September 13. THE DEETS! Forty-five NYC restaurants, in all different nabes and at a myriad of price points, have drummed up prixfixe menus of their hottest new dishes. Peruse the offerings and book your table at BAFeastorFashion.com/OpenTable, where you’ll find all the info on Bon Appétit’s Own the Night festivities. Or look out for iPad-baring BA staffers at major runway shows, ad agencies, and around the Condé Nast caf—they can make your ressie right away.
What you’ ll eat! @ AI FIORI: Insalata Pomodori
Heirloom tomato salad, stracciatella, basil pesto, balsamico
Line-caught atlantic halibut, baby romaine, guanciale, white bean puree, preserved lemon jus
Vanilla black pepper crema, blackberries, yogurt, melon sorbetto
FA S H I O N W E E K D A I L Y. C O M
Watermelon and cucumber salad Black mint, pecorin o fre and aceto manod sco, ori Arugula ricotta an d sungold tomato pi zz a Arugula pesto, fre sh ricot sungold tomatoes, ta, and wild arugula Seasonal sorbetti
BON APPÉTIT PRESENTS
FEAST OR FASHION
Fashion all day, food all night—that’s the BA way. Now in its second year, Feast or Fashion celebrates the happy marriage of these two favorite pastimes by pairing star chefs and designers with post-show celebrations. This week’s theme? A trio of bona-fide power couples. Jean-Georges Vongerichten and his son Cedric will prep a dinner for Michael Bastian’s inner circle, while Rachel Roy will host her post-show dinner on the roof of the The NoMad alongside Executive Chef Abram Bissell and Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport. And Pork Slope’s Dale Talde FORGET TO has teamed up with AND! DON’T E GOODS… H T S Booker and Dax U SHOW mixologist Dave Arnold Tag your Own the to host a house party Night-related Tweets and bash toasting and Instagrams with Chris Benz’s 30th #BAFeastorFashion and birthday. Expect a cake your musings and memofrom Momofuku Milk ries may—just may!— Bar’s Christina Tosi. appear on BonAppétit.com the morning after.
A CHEEKY MOMENT With Mario Batali Daily fave and legendary night owl Mario Batali is getting in on the Own the Night action at his restos Lupa and Otto. Where do you dine during Fashion Week? I don’t change the way I eat, except that there are some fancy, glitzy-looking people in some of my favorite places. Such as? The fashion flock is always at The Spotted Pig, Tertulia, and La Esquina, which means I avoid La Esquina that week. Where in NYC will we probably never find a Batali joint? I haven’t done anything in the Upper East or Upper West, and I don’t plan to. What’s your favorite way to eat cheeks? I like both beef and pork cheeks, but I’m a big fan of halibut cheeks as well. Who’s invited to your dream fashion folk dinner? I love Isaac Mizrahi, Helena Christensen, Michael Stipe, and Isabella Rossellini. What’s on the table? All of those people will eat just about anything I want! So we’d keep it simple: a watermelon or peach salad because they’re still in season, pasta or pizza with a lot of vegetables on the side, and sorbetto or copetta at Otto. What’s your current fashion obsession? These really cool bags by Fishtown Sail Co. made in Michigan from used sails. I’m bringing back five or six bags for my friends. They’re going to be all the rage—everyone is going to want them. As much of a rage as Mario Batali can start in fashion!
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Rachel Roy: What are you ordering, Adam? Adam Rapoport: Do you want me to start? That would be so ungentlemanly! OK, I’ll have the local tomatoes and the scampi ravioli. RR: I’m getting the scampi, too. When you’re eating with an expert, you just want to copy whatever they’re having! AR: My wife always orders something different from me, because she feels like she’s supposed to, and then she regrets it. RR: How did you get into food? AR: This is very armchair psychiatrist! Growing up in DC in the seventies, herbs came from a jar. There was no arugula. You had underripe tomatoes year round, and green beans came from a can. If there was broccoli, it was cooked for an hour—smarmy green, soggy, and mushy. But my mom was a good cook. I was the youngest, so when my brother and sister were at school I hung out with my mom in the kitchen. I still thought boxed macaroni and cheese with ground beef mixed in was the best thing ever invented, though. RR: I grew up in Monterey, a gorgeous place very close to the Bay Area. It’s a community of very happy, chic hippies. We lived on the poorer side of town, but the fields of Salinas that John Steinbeck wrote about were my visuals. I still long for the sea. My mom is Dutch and my dad’s Indian. He always had three jobs, and one of them was as a nurse in a psych ward. He’d make friends with the people in the cafeteria, bring home leftovers, and curry them. I didn’t love Indian food as a kid, but I appreciate it now. So does my 12-year-old! After college, I learned how to make stuff that most other people know how to make; I don’t need recipes for exotic dishes. And I had to teach myself to make all of those typical, Leave it to Beaver meals that I thought I was missing out on! Everyone’s house seems cooler than yours when you’re growing up. What was the first dish you learned to cook? AR: My house was all about meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and iceberg lettuce, and the first thing I learned to make was a really good omelet. My father could cook two things: omelets and tuna casserole
FA S H I O N W E E K D A I L Y. C O M
with potato chips. He made the omelets on a good, old, French steel skillet. The butter would get all brown, you’d pour the eggs in, and you’d have the perfect omelet in 38 seconds. In ninth grade, we were allowed off campus for lunch for 45 minutes and I’d bring six girls home and make them all omelets. RR: Fresh ingredients really do make all the difference. Everything I wish I’d known sooner, I make sure to tell my girls. Smells, even! We live across the street from Whole Foods, so it’s quite easy because all of the herbs just smell so damn good. AR: When I was in college in Berkeley, I was several beers into the evening at a friend’s house when I saw a jar of fresh rosemary on the table. I called my mom saying, ‘There’s that stuff that you put on your lamb chops! That green stuff!’ Northern California was always steps ahead of the East Coast and the Midwest, especially with Alice Waters and Chez Panisse. In California, I discovered actual Asian cooking and really good Mexican food. And grocery stores with wide aisles and 14 different kinds of peppers! Plus amazing produce at farmer’s markets. That dovetailed with the start of the celebrity chef movement in the early nineties. Did you have any pivotal foodie moments in Berkeley? AR: I was sort of a dork; I subscribed to Gourmet as 20-year-old straight kid. I’d take girls out to restaurants in San Francisco, which was a big thing. But I’d read about those places in Gourmet, saw the pictures, and wanted to go to places like Zuni Café, for the roast chicken with bread salad. At the time, I knew this wasn’t normal. RR: I’m sure the girls appreciated it! No one’s taking you out to restaurants like that in college. AR: I’d get dressed up, too! Other San Francisco food memories include burritos in the Mission. I went to this place, Altena Taqueria. Those big carne asada burritos! And grilled steak with fresh avocado? I’d never had a fresh avocado before I moved to California. Now I’ll put an avocado on absolutely everything. I was awakened: As much as I loved the food I ate growing up, there was a whole other world out there.
What happens when you take Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport and designer Rachel Roy down to Tribeca for a midday lunch at Locanda Verde? A stimulating, often hilarious tête-à-tête spanning the sartorial and edible gamut, from the pitch-perfect omelet technique to white jeans way beyond Labor Day. BY ALEXANDRA ILYASHOV Photography by Giorgio Niro
RR: What’s your favorite restaurant in New York? AR: Oh man, I’d get into so much trouble for answering that! RR: I guess that’s like someone asking me to name my favorite designer. AR: It depends on the occasion. Going out with five of my buddies—a bunch of guys from GQ—I’ll do this fun, boisterous place called Pietro’s on East 43rd Street. It’s packed at 6 p.m. and then empty after 9 p.m. There’s good steak, chicken parm, hash browns, really stiff cocktails, and a terrible wine list. I’m also a big fan of Roberta’s in Brooklyn. You can do pizza and cans of Budweiser there, or more experimental cuisine next door at Blanca. But it’s all served in the same environment of picnic tables and Beastie Boys music. It’s a rollicking, rocking place. But last night, I went to Le Bernardin.... RR: Every bite there is incredible! AR: I am not a big seafood guy. Pork or a rib-eye steak is what really gets me going. But Eric Ripert is just a phenomenal chef. Everything is calibrated correctly, and it never overwhelms you. RR: A former company president of mine introduced me to that restaurant five or six years ago. We’d ‘take a meeting’ and sit at the bar for lunch. Beyond NYC, which delicious destinations have you graced lately? RR: Sardinia. We ate four or five times a day. Things like fried mozzarella and pizzas covered in tomatoes that taste like candy! It’s an amazing experience if you love food. Fortunately, I do. AR: Were you with your daughters? RR: Unfortunately, no, but they do travel well. I was very excited to fill up my first daughter’s passport. But traveling with one kid is so much easier than two, so Tallulah’s passport isn’t as full as Ava’s. My parents were very good about taking me
around the world. They didn’t have money, but they still managed to do it. One of the best things I’ve done with Ava is take her to Ghana. Whenever she starts to feel sorry for herself, I remind her of kids she’d met on that trip. AR: Moving to fashion—if you’re not wearing your own clothes, what do you wear? RR: My favorites are Givenchy, Céline, and Rick Owens. AR: Oh, wow! Very forward of you. And when you’re just hanging out on the weekends? RR: Levi’s, 501s only. I need that button-fly. And a white men’s button-down. AR: I wear Levi’s myself. I’m into the matchstick ones right now. RR: I like white jeans year round. I don’t care if it’s after Labor Day. I don’t give a sh*t! I think they’re actually quite slenderizing and super classic. AR: I’ve been known in my office for wearing white jeans. I wore a pair yesterday, in fact. I just can’t stop! I’ve become so preppy recently. I’m wearing so much Brooks Brothers stuff—suede bucks, jeans, seersucker shirts. RR: The width of your tie is perfect. AR: It’s a Thom Browne for Brooks Brothers tie, from their Black Fleece collection. I’m also wearing my Ralph Lauren wing-tops. RR: And no socks? AR: Yeah. I worked at GQ, and you’re not allowed to wear socks if you work at GQ. Anyone for dessert? AR: Can I get two espresso shots on ice? Yeah, I’m fancy! RR: I’ll have that, too. AR: Wow, I’m starting a trend! I love how it looks when you pour whole milk into coffee—it gets all marbleized. What’s the most overrated dish? AR: Truffle oil, definitely. RR: It tastes so damn good, though! AR: I like real truffles, Rachel. The oil is just like that person in the elevator wearing too much perfume. I’m over it!
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When it comes to the kitchen and the closet, Bon Appétit’s executive editor Christine Muhlke has all her bases covered. From trickedout tea accoutrements to Lanvin flats, the stylish food savant has a cadre of wearable and edible musts worth cribbing. BY ALEXANDRA ILYASHOV PHOTOGRAPHY BY GIORGIO NIRO
FA S H I O N W E E K D A I L Y. C O M
Christine’s ESSENTIALS WHAT TO USE...
STAUB COCOTTE “This is for doing braises— it’s the perfect size for a chicken. In the winter, you just throw it in the oven and don’t think about it for a few hours. The juices and steam gather and drip back down, so whatever you’re cooking constantly bastes itself.”
...And What TO WEAR!
BLUESTAR OVEN “I hate to say that a piece of equipment has changed my life, but five or six years ago, I wrote a book with Eric Ripert and used the money from the advance to buy one of these. This only matters to freaks like me, but the oven fits a full sheet tray. Everything I cook in the BlueStar makes me feel like I should have my own restaurant.”
TUCKER TOPS “I’m a rabid fan of Gaby Basora’s clothes for Tucker. She used to intern at Paper, where I used to work, and she’s grown into a big, beautiful designer— even though she’s tiny! Tucker has that easy, breezy, no-brainer chic that you can also wear to dinner at a three-star restaurant.”
HERMÈS DOUBLE TOUR WATCH “Once on a shoot, the stylist Tiina Laakkonen was wearing hers along with about 50 other black leather Hermès bracelets. It was so cool, I copped her look.” CHANCE STRIPED T-SHIRT “My friend Julia Leach founded Chance, a collection based around striped t-shirts. I have a million—I think it’s around 45 total—and I wear them all the time. Julia worked with the artist Elliott Puckette on a hand-drawn stripe, which is my favorite. Elliott and I trade recipes for art!”
LADURÉE AND BOSIE TEA PARLOUR MACAROONS “I’m always snacking! I like Ladurée, but I can’t stand the lines. I go to a place called Bosie Tea Parlour on Morton Street in the West Village. The guy there, Damien Herrgott, used to work for Pierre Hermé and Daniel; he’ll do tea flavors, like Darjeeling, Jasmine, or Matcha.”
BDDW CUTTING BOARDS “I can’t afford BDDW’s furniture, but they just launched these cutting boards a few months ago. They’re unbelievably beautiful, and they come in neat shapes.”
MALDON SEA SALT “We always have a big bowl of salt near the stove. That way, you can season easily, and you don’t have to measure—you can just pinch it. Maldon salt, from the U.K., is for finishing dishes just before serving. Even just on toasts, with a bit of olive oil, the Maldon salt gives a beautiful, flaky crunchiness.”
LANVIN FLATS “Mine are from 2004—at least that’s what the date on the label tells me— and they are so easy. My favorite ones have bows—you can’t take yourself too seriously! They make me think of Alber [Elbaz], and he always makes me smile.”
ZERO + MARIA CORNEJO COAT “I’ve been shopping Maria Cornejo since she opened her first store in Nolita over 12 years ago. I just fell in love with her, and I’ve been buying her stuff on sale ever since. I love that Maria’s designs are so outside of fashion, they never go out of style. For Fall, I splurged on this coat.”
PLUS! HOW TO DRESS ON THE JOB
TEAS FROM LE PALAIS DES THÉS “I can’t drink more than one cup at a time or I get too jazzed! I have green in the morning and black in the afternoon. I’m excited that they’re opening in Soho in November.”
FA S H I O N W E E K D A I L Y. C O M
“I work at a food magazine, so you need to wear expandable waistlines and a built-in bib. Between all the the tunics and skinny pants I bought for my fall pregnancy, it’s all about a Luke Skywalker silhouette. It’s fun to work with Adam [Rapoport] because he’s so style-conscious. Recently, I jokingly asked his permission to wear Birkenstocks around the office, since my ankles got so swollen. He replied, totally deadpan, ‘That’s cool, as long as they’re metallic!’ He also responds well to a print, so he likes all of my Tucker pieces and an old Bernhard Willhem skirt with a dinosaur on it.” muhlke: giorgio niro; model: getty images
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Portrait of a Foodist
Straight-talking, good-looking men seem to be par for the course at Bon Appétit, but it’s restaurant and drinks editor Andrew Knowlton whose brain is bulging with intel on the hottest, newest, latest boîtes and bistros all around the globe. Over an Einbecker Pilsner with The Daily at his neighborhood joint, Prime Meats in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, he talked both turkey and t-shirts. BY ASHLEY BAKER PORTRAIT BY DEAN KAUFMAN What was your entrée into food? I grew up in Atlanta, and my dad used to take me out to all of these crazy Indian restaurants where they had this flat bread called naan, and you would order chicken tikki masala, and it was all so foreign. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it had a huge influence on me. After school, I just fell in love with eating and going out. I wasn’t really into theater and movies as much as the next person, so it kind of became my form of entertainment. And then I was at a publishing course at NYU back in 1999, and I ended up interning at Bon Appétit. During that time, I was working as a waiter at a place on Smith Street in Brooklyn called The Grocery. That was my first window into the buzz and the high that you get from being in restaurants. I mean, of course a good writer can write about anything, whether it’s
FA S H I O N W E E K D A I L Y. C O M
cars or architecture, but I chose food. Now, everyone’s an expert. Have you ever posted on Yelp? Never. I truly believe that if the restaurant really sucks, it’s not going to get good reviews on Yelp. And if the restaurant is really awesome, it’s not going to have one Yelp star or whatever their rating system is. I agree with [Los Angeles Times critic] Jonathan Gold: Yelp is amazing if you want to know what a Taiwanese teenager thinks about a Taiwanese restaurant in Southern California. But would I ever use that website as a basis for my opinion about a restaurant? No. When did Americans become so much more curious about food? When I started at Bon Appétit, nobody was taking pictures of their dinner. The Food Network was in its infancy. Of course, the overnight celebrity chef stuff
is infuriating sometimes—even nauseating, the way they can take themselves so seriously. But in general, those guys and gals are the ones who raised the bar and brought up food in a way that everyone talks about. What do you hate to see on a menu? A goat cheese and beet salad! [laughs] No, my biggest problems with a menu are laziness and redundancy. It’s hard to be a chef—it’s basically like being a writer and inventing words or a style of writing. Whether it is a diner or a food truck or a place like Prime Meats or Daniel, I just want to see someone who gives a sh*t. Knowlton with Bon Appétit colleagues Do you cook? Adam Rapoport, Christine Muhlke, and Alex Grossman Yeah. I don’t think that every restaurant critic or writer has to be a chef or a culinary school grad, but I am a student of food, and that means cooking. How often do you eat out? Probably three nights a week, but then I will go two weeks on the road, eating four or five meals a day, and after one of those trips, all I want to do is eat salad and pump out my stomach. Has being a critic impaired your ability to really enjoy the restaurant experience? Well, I can never go back into a restaurant that I have already worked at before. I’m always noticing stuff. I can enjoy the experience, but not completely purely. What is the most memorable revelation you’ve had in a restaurant? I know I don’t have to drink alcohol to have a good time. Is that true? Yeah! When I was a waiter at The Grocery, I used to get so angry with people who just drank water with their meal. But now I have kids, and the hangovers are worse. I still think that the best meals have a nice bottle of wine or a cocktail or a beer behind them, though. Thoughts on the word ‘foodie?’ I mean, it’s an annoying as hell term, but is ‘epicurean’ any better? What about ‘omnivore?’ At Bon Appétit, we have bans on the words ‘delicious’ and ‘foodie.’ If someone introduces themselves as a foodie, you know you’re in for it. They’re going to immediately tell you how they got a reservation at Blanca. So how fashion-y are you? Some people spend their money on fashion; I spend mine on food. Predictably, my look has suffered. But you’re wearing a really good t-shirt... I have this thing—I buy a t-shirt at every restaurant or hotel I visit that’s selling one, I don’t care what it looks like. My wife hates this. How many have you accrued after 13 years of restauranting? Hundreds. Some are in storage, some are sent home to Atlanta. The most recent one I bought came from a famous, female-owned strip club in Portland called Mary’s. It’s actually more of a bar that happens to have 50-year-old strippers. Gus Van Sant famously wears a Mary’s shirt, in fact. But some day, if I ever own a restaurant, I want to do something involving t-shirts. Gotcha. As fashion editors, we’re always essentially reacting to what we think is beautiful. As a food critic, are you just reacting to your gut? It all comes down to this: Would you pay for it out of your own pocket? I eat like a billionaire, but I basically live in middle class poverty. And I bet a lot of New Yorkers do the same thing. FA S H I O N W E E K D A I L Y. C O M
Your foodistsin-training: Bee, Annelise, Lola, and Evren
we try it!
T ES GO FOODIS T T E N IO H S A F N E H W and his less-thanabout Mission Chinese—
naturally, After Andrew’s raves h-crowd haunts, which fas l ua us r ou of s on four health favorable opini pages—your Daily took se the in e lud inc ) ot! cca, where we did not (cann re-friendly culinary me ivo rn ca s en’ wi Bo y nn seasoning. freakettes to Da as the “numbing chili” ul tif un bo as e ar nts t do a four-hour the calorie cou ly, fashion people do no ar cle as , res a us red every high-fat, Knowlton sco ntation, we vowed to try me eri exp of t iri sp the store.—AB wait, and in that chef Danny had in n tio coc con r vo -fla ga me
ACTERS! YOUR CAST OF CHAR BEE-SHYUAN CHANG, FASHION WRITER ANNELISE PETERSON, FASHION CONSULTANT LOLA RYKIEL, PUBLICIST, SONIA RYKIEL EVREN DOGANCAY, BUYER, KIRNA ZABÊTE
ACT 1: COCKTAILS Bee Excuse me, I’m still waiting on my glass of rosé. Waitress [points] It’s right there! Chang So sorry. I’m not used to wine served in a red plastic cup. ACT 2: HORS D’OEUVRES Annelise Is there any MSG in the lotus root? Waitress It’s prepared with wild sesame, soy caramel, and chives. Annelise OK, two of those. Any other vegan options?
ACT 3: MAINS Bee Let’s make sure to get the pig ear terrine. My mom says pig ear is good for the skin. Evren Do you think two orders of those chicken wings were too many? Lola Absolutely not. We’ll also have a double order of the salt cod fried rice. Annelise Possible to get another side of lotus root? ACT 4: LATER, OVER CHAMPAGNE AT ACME… Lola I still can’t feel anything in my left cheek. Am I hallucinating, or is anyone else smelling that kung pao pastrami? Evren Who took the pastrami to-go and is carrying a Céline tote? Because the sauce is dripping out of your bag.... B FA N YC . C O M ( 2 ) ; PAT R I C K M C M U L L A N . C O M ;
A L L FA S H I O N E T T E S C O U R T E S Y
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DELI DELICACIES “There’s nothing better than this lowbrow version of breakfast: an egg sandwich and hot coffee.”
A FAVORITE DISH “Japanese dumplings at TOY, a super fun new place in the Gansevoort Hotel where the sushi boat arrives via a team of waiters with sparklers. I used to love sushi under the backlights at Avenue A Sushi in the nineties, and this is a major throwback.”
FETCHED TO ORDER “I have my a.m. and p.m. Starbucks orders taped to the fridge in our studio, so when interns make coffee runs, there are no mistakes.”
AFTERNOON MUNCHIES “I love a rooftop chicken sandwich in Williamsburg during a topsecret photo shoot. It wasn’t on the menu, but that’s just the way I roll.”
CAFFEINE COUNT “I’m a Sant Ambroeus disciple, but always al fresco.”
CHRIS BENZ: a life in food What fuels this chicster-abouttown’s madcap lifestyle? The Daily demanded photographic evidence of Benz’s daily intake. FA S H I O N W E E K D A I L Y. C O M
ABSOLUT LOYALTY “Work hard, play hard! Vodka fuels us on hot summer nights as we’re prepping for Fashion Week.” ALL PHOTOS COURTESY
“no need to tighten your belt when you practice
fall collection 2012
don’t sweater it
skirting the issue
miss fancy pants DBP, Toluene and Formaldehyde free
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My ntervew w th a Cgarette Most of the fashion industry’s eccentric habits—wacky diets, dangerous shoes, preening for streetstyle photogs in a manner that would make Angelina blush—are celebrated. But smoking? Not so much. Your Daily sat down with the onceubiquitous Marlboro Light in search of answers about its fate. BY ASHLEY BAKER
ow’s life? To be honest, I’m feeling a bit burned out. Pourquoi? Everything’s going digital, even the guys in my crowd. Have you heard about these new smokes that are all microchip, no tar? Are you becoming a bit dated? Not dated—never dated. A little retro, maybe. And a little unserious. You seem to be taken seriously to me. Only as a leper! I used to be everywhere—at the finest barstools at the Rainbow Room, heading the toniest tables at Tavern on the Green. Around the time we first met, you were holding court at Don Hill’s. Yes! Those were some good times. I was really going through a renaissance around the time of the Ban. How did that affect you?
FA S H I O N W E E K D A I L Y. C O M
It destroyed my appetite, for starters. How does a stimulant get depressed? It’s kind of you to think of me that way. Did you feel like you were in hiding? Essentially. But you know, it’s interesting—as I became scarcer, I became more appealing to the most discerning society. Like a luxury good, if you will. If you had to compare yourself to a fashion accessory... A Taffin opal brooch, a Schlumberger earring, a Cartier Panthère ring. I’m unabashedly opulent. When are you happiest? When I am being enjoyed alone, in secret. Any place in particular? Oh [exhaling], probably Graydon Carter’s office bathroom. The quarters are a bit cramped, but the space itself is sexy. What are your politics?
I suppose it’s on the record that Obama and I go way back. Describe your relationship with food. Mostly compatible. What about with alcohol? We’re frenemies. Coffee? Ugh! So annoying. Do you have anxiety about the future? No more than the next vice. But for everyone who abandons me, another adopts. At least that’s how it seems. Or maybe I’m just blowing smoke up your... Why are you such a polarizing character? Oh darling, isn’t it clear? I’m far too magnetic for my own good. Don’t you remember how we met, and how intimate we became, so immediately? I’m trying not to think about it. How do you want to be remembered? On fire! g e t t y (4) ; s h u t t e r s t o c k
FASHION CAREERS COME IN DIFFERENT SIZES:
S, M, L AND
NYC www.limcollege.edu/img Business and fashion come together in a unique way at LIM College. For nearly 75 years, we’ve been educating fashion’s business leaders. With hundreds of the industry’s top companies as partners, and with expert faculty, a rigorous curriculum, and our prime location in the world’s fashion capital, this is a hands-on, professional education — WHERE BUSINESS MEETS FASHION® — unlike anywhere else. www.limcollege.edu • 800.677.1322 • 12 E. 53rd St. New York, NY
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The Daily Front Row