Crown Chef John DeLucie on Catering to the Elite

Who is your ideal customer?

If I could cook for anyone? I love cooking for my parents. They just love everything and they're not critical or award stars.

What makes a restaurant successful in your mind?

Well, I can only speak for mine, and the thing is I don't know what makes others successful, but in my mind, it's ambiance, solid, consistent food, and nice people -- people who are respectful and willing to bend over backwards for great service.

If you weren't a chef, what would you be doing?

Twenty years ago, I'd be trying out for Led Zeppelin. Now I'm too old for that, but I've always been enamored with entertainment. I write and play music, and it's the thread that's been going through my life. My dad is a musician, so I'd be a jazz musician or recording something. I handpicked the jazz band for the new weekend brunch at Lion.

You've been in the business a long time. Would you say your culinary outlook has changed?

Twenty-one years of gainful employment! Yeah, as a young cook you want to set the world on fire and want to do what you want to do and invent the next great dish and put together combinations no one's done. Now, I want to be successful and please people and make sure they have a nice time and leave happy. From a culinary standpoint, that means creating great food and giving them what they want. If they want a mushroom omelet, hey, they paid for it.

Check back tomorrow to learn more about John's favorite New York City restaurants.

For more dining news, head to Fork in the Road, or follow us @ForkintheRoadVV, or me @ldshockey.

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