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Ben Chekroun

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‘Esquire’ Escalates Chef-Fashion War With ‘Maxim’

Has it really come to this? Maxim and Esquire are going at it hammer and tongs to see who can print more ridiculous images of chefs as fashion models. Esquire started it, with a never-to-be-forgotten Simon Hammerstein–David Chang tough-guy shoot. This year, Maxim released its April spread early to get the jump on Esquire, but both mags shared a few models (formerly known as chefs): Michael Psilakis of Anthos, Neil Ferguson of Allen and Delancey, and Craig Koketsu of Park Avenue Winter. Psilakis, for his part, is even wearing similar suits in both spreads. (Did he leave the Maxim refrigerator and head straight to his Esquire lunch at Insieme?) Other chefs of note in the shoot include Ben Chekroun, the elegant maître d' of Le Bernardin, whom we interviewed for Ask a Waiter back in the day; San Domenico's affable wine director, Piero Trotta; and the boyish Wesley Genovart of Degustation, tucking into a plate of duck and soba noodles. We give Esquire the edge for shooting the dapper John McDonald at Keens. Though he’s more of a bon vivant restaurateur than a chef, Johnny Mac is a quintessential Esquire man. Man’s Gotta Eat [Esquire] Related: Chefs Put on Something a Little More Comfortable When Chefs Play Dress-Up

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Ben Chekroun on How to Get the Best Seat at Le Bernardin

Moroccan-born Ben Chekroun was a maître d' at the Inn at Bay Ridge when a friend asked him if he was interested in a job at Le Bernardin. He had to start as a waiter, but after thirteen years, he's worked his way up to maître d' and doesn't plan on going anywhere else. We asked him what makes the service at Le Bernardin the best in the city, what makes the fish so fresh, and whether anyone has ever stolen one of the house jackets.

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