What lessons did Le Cordon Bleu leave with you, and how has it led you to where you are at today?
It was instructive in learning a lot of the classic techniques that many presentations modern restaurants don’t do anymore. The old school cold-buffet presentations and charcuterie provided a historical perspective.
How would you describe your culinary style?
I like my food to be light and fresh as much as possible, using a lot of fresh herbs and chilies to produce vivid flavors. I don’t use a lot of cream or butter.
Explain your transition as Executive Chef at Millesime at the Carlton Hotel over to Tribeca Grill?
Both restaurants are well regarded and have a devoted clientele. Here we do more emphasis on American rather than French cuisine. I continue to grow as a chef to present an engaging menu to our guests.
What is a dish on your menu that you are particularly excited about right now, and why?
I really like the Pan Seared Salmon right now. It’s light, it uses carrots and artichokes and cooking broth from artichokes to make a really nice sauce. I really like the Trofie Pasta as well.
When’s fall menu—what are u most excited about changing seasons?
We start thinking about the fall menu in September. I am excited about cooking with fall harvest (apples, butternut squash) and tend to go more towards spices and dried fruits for fall, and vinegar and seasonings.
What are some of your favorite cookbooks that you find yourself returning to again and again?
Michelle Bras, Jean Louis Palladin, The Husk cookbook by Sean Brock, and Daniel Paterson’s Coi.
In your history of working in kitchens, who has made the largest influence in terms of your culinary method, foundation, and execution?
I’ve been lucky to work with some really great people, such as my first chef in culinary school, David Robinson—he really gave me my first shot at cooking in a fine dining style restaurant, and had the patience to help me learn and develop.
Working at Kampuchea—there I learned and became interested in cooking with herbs, and chili. At the time this restaurant was the only Cambodian restaurant in the city.
Working with Pino Loungo really taught me a lot about the simplicity of pasta.
Laurent Manrique really helped me develop my French technique and taught me a lot about managing a kitchen and a restaurant
Finally, after working at Tribeca Grill for almost a year now, how have you brought your skills to the 27 year-old restaurant?
We have a great team here, and all the cooks are excited about what we are doing. We all work together to serve a menu that brings quality to our guests.