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La Promenade des Anglais

Hailing from Nice, Alain Allegretti's career stretches from helming the kitchen at legendary restaurants including New York Ritz-Carlton's highly acclaimed restaurant, Atelier and Sirio Maccioni's Le Cirque 2000. In 2008 he opened up his eponymous critically acclaimed restaurant Allegretti in the Flatiron District and he currently is the consulting corporate chef at La Petite Maison, a Niçoise restaurant in Midtown. This Fall Allegretti will open a new restaurant in Chelsea, with a menu inspired by the French Riviera with influences from across Italy.


La Promenade des Anglais


How do you characterize your cuisine?

My cuisine is inspired by the French Riviera with influences from Italy. For me that means light and fresh flavors, seasonal ingredients, lots of quality olive oil, sea salt, fish, etc.

What region or ethnicity most influences your cooking?

The best way of summing it up would be to say the Mediterranean. Having grown up in the south of France, I believe that my cooking takes on a Provençal flavor. In the past you could have characterized my cuisine as Nicoise. But at my new endeavor opening this fall, the food will be inspired by the French Riviera with influences from Italy as well.

What is your signature dish?

I've been lucky enough that from my restaurant Allegretti to La Petite Maison and now my new project, I've taken with me my signature Provençal fish soup with rouille and garlic croutons. It always seems to be a favorite among diners and press. Another signature dish is my oxtail ravioli with Swiss chard that I've carried with me from one spot to another.

What kind of food were you exposed to as a child?

Both my Italian and Vietnamese grandmothers were amazing cooks, so that is the basis of where I learned to love food.

Have you ever lived or trained overseas? Where?

Though I did not attend culinary school overseas, I was lucky enough to get hands-on training at some of the most highly regarded restaurants in France, including the two-star Restaurant Le Chantecler at Hôtel Négresco in Nice, where Jacques Maximin served as my mentor; three-star rated Chez Chapel in Mionnay; and at three-star rated Restaurant Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo under Alain Ducasse.

Is there an exotic spice or ingredient that you particularly enjoy using?

I'm a big fan of curry, so whenever I can cook for myself and incorporate curry—green, red, orange—I'm happy.

Does the design and style of your restaurant evoke a particular place? If so, where?

The design of my restaurant is going to evoke casual elegance. We want the design to give off the same feel that the menu offers. It will be as much a casual neighborhood spot as it is a nice place you want to entertain friends or take someone out on a date.

When you cook for yourself, what do you make?

I love to cook pasta. It's an easy thing to make when you don't want to spend all night in the kitchen—whether it be a garlic and olive oil sauce or a quick tomato sauce with basil, it's always easy and delicious. Also anytime I can cook spicy food at home with curry, I do.

What are some of the trips you have taken for inspiration?

All of my trips inspire me (India, Asia, French Riviera) but I recently went on a trip to Morocco and was absolutely enamored with the cuisine. I've never had a better tagine than what I ate there on most nights. The spices and seasonings they use on fish and chicken are just amazing.

Is there anything you'd like to add about global cuisine?

For me, it's just exciting to travel and discover new flavors but also new interpretations of the same thing. A roasted chicken in France is different than a chicken under a brick on the streets of Egypt, yet they both taste amazing. And of course that's the great thing about the dining scene in New York City: You can taste flavors from an endless variety of countries, all on one city block.

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