Eight Years After Top Chef, Harold Dieterle Is Still Going Strong

Categories: Chef Interviews

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Courtesy Harold Dieterle
After Harold Dieterle walked away victorious from the first season of Bravo's Top Chef, people expected him, he says, to open a massive restaurant in Times Square, one where he could put himself onstage in an open kitchen and smile benevolently down upon his fans. That's not his personality, though, and so instead he opened Perilla (9 Jones Street, 212-929-6868) in a small Greenwich Village space, serving 18 tables and 10 bar seats New American cuisine that now skews Mediterranean. A few years later, he expanded to Kin Shop (469 Sixth Avenue, 212-675-4295), an outlet for his abiding interest in Asian flavors. And then there was the Marrow, a West Village restaurant that pulls from his German and Italian roots. (That joint never quite clicked, though, and just closed.)

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Swedish Chef: Emma Bengtsson Draws From Her Childhood

Categories: Chef Interviews

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Evan Barbour
Last week, the Michelin Guide unveiled its 2015 star rankings for New York City, bestowing two sparklers upon Aquavit (65 East 55th Street, 212-307-7311). That's one more than last year, and it's proof that Emma Bengtsson, who took over the kitchen as executive chef this summer after a long stint as pastry chef, has risen magnificently to the challenge of her new role.


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Bond Vivant: Donna Lennard Reflects on Il Buco's Two Decades

Categories: Chef Interviews

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Il Buco
Twenty years ago, when Donna Lennard opened Il Buco (47 Bond Street, 212-533-1932) on Bond Street, she wasn't planning to become a restaurateur. Il Buco wasn't even a restaurant then. Lennard was an independent filmmaker caught up in a romance with an Italian named Alberto Avalle, who wanted to export pieces of Americana to Europe. The pair had been collecting antiques from around the region when Lennard learned the artists at 47 Bond were planning to leave the address, which they were using as a studio, because rent was rising from $1,700 a month to $2,000. The couple signed their first 10-year lease, refitted the space, and began selling old radios, quilts, and furniture.

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The King of Spain: With Huertas, Jonah Miller Fulfills a Lifelong Dream

Categories: Chef Interviews

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Gabi Porter
Point out that Huertas (107 First Avenue, 212-228-4490) chef Jonah Miller is young for a Manhattan restaurant owner, and he'll remind you that two of the people he worked for -- Peter Hoffman at Savoy and David Waltuck at Chanterelle -- were younger when they opened their storied establishments. And besides, restaurant ownership is a dream Miller has been kicking around since he was a teenager, which has given him plenty of time to meditate on how his space should work.

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What Marcus Samuelsson's Experience in Harlem Can Teach Restaurateurs Everywhere

Categories: Chef Interviews

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Adam Robb
As Atlantic City's casinos shutter this week, it seems particularly poignant to remember that there are restaurants beyond the boardwalk that will suffer. These are the small businesses that the Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival doesn't recognize, instead importing food world celebrities like Martha Stewart, Robert Irvine, and Red Rooster chef Marcus Samuelsson to lure in tourists with staple beach eats.

The latter may have a lesson for restaurants like Chef Vola's, The Iron Room, and the Perfectly Innocent Amusement Co.: Marcus Samuelsson knows how investing in an ungentrified neighborhood can change people's perspective of a community, boost tourism, and attract new businesses, having opened Red Rooster in on Lenox Avenue in Harlem in 2010. We asked the chef about how restaurateurs can serve as ambassadors for ailing Atlantic City and how he came to realize opening a restaurant in Harlem was about so much more than opening a restaurant in Harlem.

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How Smorgasburg Founders Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler Built One of the Biggest Small Business Incubators in NYC

Categories: Chef Interviews

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John von Pamer/Berg'n
Jonathan Butler and Eric Demby
The credit for Brooklyn's status as an international brand may belong to many players, but few represent and commodify the borough quite like Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler. This is the duo behind the Brooklyn Flea, Smorgasburg, and, now, Berg'n (899 Bergen Street, Brooklyn; 718-857-2337) in Crown Heights, a collection of projects that has given their company the platform to serve as an incubator for Brooklyn brands that, thanks to the pair's involvement and vote of confidence, grow and spread, perpetuating the influence of Kings County.

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Meat Market: Pat LaFrieda Reflects on Four Generations of Butchery

Categories: Chef Interviews

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Nick Solares
When I meet Pat LaFrieda for lunch, I'm thrown for a moment. This man, part of the family behind Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, is perhaps the best-known butcher in the country (or at least, in our part of the country), supplier of beef to the the city's top restaurants, and creator of hamburger blends that sometimes command more attention than the restaurants that serve them. But he doesn't look like a butcher. He's tall and fit, and in his blue collared button down and (presumably) expensive jeans, he looks more like the type of executive who's become accustomed to playing by his own rules.

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On the (Willow) Road With Chef Kevin Chojnowski

Categories: Chef Interviews

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Paul Wagtouicz
When Kevin Chojnowski was 10 years old, he worked on a local farm, picking strawberries, beans, and peas. It was his first dip into the food world, but it made a lasting impression -- by 15, he was waiting tables and helping in the kitchen, prepping and washing dishes, at a nearby restaurant. When he enrolled in a vocational center for high school, he decided to try the culinary program, forsaking the engineering classes he'd thought he wanted.

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Why You Should Go Dine in Westchester, Per Martha Stewart

Categories: Chef Interviews

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Adam Robb

Before hungry revelers at the Atlantic City Food & Wine Festival braved wet sand to sample ample mouthfuls of Martha Stewart's impolite blue cheese and raw onion sliders, America's mogul hostess sat above the fray inside Caesars, setting down her Scala straw hat long enough to discuss the abundance of celebrity chefs and patrons currently buzzing around the Westchester dining scene.

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Farm to City: How Polo Dobkin's Meadowsweet Channels the Countryside and the Mediterranean

Categories: Chef Interviews

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Evan Sung
When Polo Dobkin and his wife, Stephanie Lempert, opened their restaurant Meadowsweet (149 Broadway, Brooklyn, 718-384-0673) in South Williamsburg earlier this year, it was something of a homecoming: Dobkin had helped open the Dressler in the same address in 2006, building on a small Williamsburg fiefdom that also included Dumont and Dumont Burger. Those were good years -- he worked with the group for a decade, and he and Stephanie met when they both worked at Dumont. Making their first foray into ownership at a place that held personal significance provided a nice, fairy tale-like twist to their journey.

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