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Jonathan Benno

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Benno Leaving Per Se?

Thomas Keller's star chef may be striking out on his own.

By Daniel Maurer

Benno Keeps It Real

The Per Se chef does not approve of molecular gastronomy.

By Daniel Maurer

NYC Chefs: Setaro Pasta Rules!

Today marks the tenth anniversary of Chelsea Market, a place we would avoid if there were anyplace else to get Setaro pasta. The supremacy of the Campagnan product, sold only in Buonitalia at the market, is something we never stop hearing about: last night, Kevin Garcia of Accademia del Vino told us, “All the top chefs I know use it — it’s the pasta of choice, the best I’ve ever been able to find.” Mark Ladner of Del Posto, Jonathan Benno at Per Se, and any number of other food luminaries swear by the stuff. But why? Buonitalia co-owner Antonio Magliulo says, “This company, Setaro, is very small. They don’t produce a lot of pasta. And when they dry it, it’s at low temperatures, so it keeps the flavor and texture. The way it cooks, the bite that it keeps — it’s something special.”

Chodorow, While Still Bitter, Lifts Ban on Platt

Adam Platt and Frank Bruni are no longer banned from Jeffrey Chodorow’s restaurants. Even though, says the restaurateur, Platt “missed the whole point of Wild Salmon.” [Restaurant Girl] Related: Salmon Cured? [NYM] In a revealing interview, Marco Pierre White takes a stand against the star-chef game: “Can you imagine: You take your wife out to my restaurant for dinner, and I'm not behind the stove. You find out I'm in America — how would you feel when you've just done $1,200 for dinner? It's a sour taste, isn't it?” [Salon] Thomas Keller announces that he isn’t really the man at Per Se: “I [speak] as someone who is somewhat detached from it because it is a Jonathan Benno restaurant.” [MSN]

Why Wasn’t I Completely Floored by Craft?

Dear Grub Street,
I’m hoping someone can explain Craft to me. I was taken there the other night for my birthday dinner and came away completely confused and disappointed. Really, what’s the big deal? What’s with all the glowing reviews?
Andrea

A Salumi-Obsessed Chef's New Gig

When we were told that Italian Wine Merchants had a new chef, our first thought was, Why would a wine store need a chef? In fact, the Batali-owned specialty shop does a huge banquet business and is booked for private events nearly year-round. The new chef is Liz Chapman, a veteran of Craft, Casa Mono, and Babbo, and a big part of her mandate is to create the cured meats that Mario & Co. so adore. Chapman, whose fiancé is Per Se chef de cuisine Jonathan Benno, tells us, "I'm really here for the salumi. I wake up in the morning, and they're all I think about." We know how you feel, Liz. Just don't tell Benno!