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In 2010, Laurent Manrique opened Millesime, a vibrant, casual seafood brasserie with his partners in Collective Hospitality: Christopher Condy, Peter Chase and Meredith Gelacak. As Lauent grew up in the Gascon village of Roques, his fondness for food and cooking flourished. After training and his apprenticeship with master chef Roger Duffor in France, he moved to the U.S. in 1990, and has worked in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York City. In 2007, Laurent earned two Michelin stars, an honor he upheld for three consecutive years. A practicing Buddhist, he is the founder of Taste & Tribute, a tasting event that benefits the Tibetan Aid Project, an organization dedicated to preserving Tibet's cultural heritage.




How do you characterize your cuisine?

It's all about simple, seasonal ingredients. I try to eliminate unnecessary ingredients that don't add anything to a dish.

What region or ethnicity most influences your cooking?

My native Gascony for sure, and North Africa where my father grew up.

What is your signature dish?

Tuna tartare with Berbere spices, dates, and mint.

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

My family ran an inn in our town of Roques, Gascony, where my grandmother was the cook. I was really fortunate to grow up in one of France's greatest gastronomic regions and to have been exposed to great cooking at a very young age. I grew up with a lot of farm-fresh vegetables and meats, wild game, and foraged ingredients like forest mushrooms.

Also, my father grew up in North Africa. We visited there often, and the great spices and flavors of that region influenced me as well.

Have you ever lived or trained overseas? Where?

I was born, raised, and educated in France. I have had the great fortune of working at the world-renowned Michelin-starred restaurants Toit de Passy and Taillevent before moving to the States.

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

I love cumin and ginger.

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

The name of our restaurant, Millesime, means "vintage" in French, and the décor and feel of the space is an homage to the great brasseries in old Paris, circa 1920-1930.

When you cook for yourself, what do you make?

I like to keep it really simple. I love a good salad and roast chicken.

What are some of the places you've visited for inspiration?

Scandinavia, Asia, Spain and Africa.

What are your thoughts on global cuisine?

We're lucky to live in an era when travel is so much easier. People—and I don't mean just chefs—have such easy access to new places and cuisines. So I think you're going to see more excitement and interest about foods from all over the world. This is a great thing, because there are so many wonderful things to eat out there.

What's the benefit of participating in New York Taste?

New York City is one of the great culinary capitals of the world and is also a place where great chefs and cuisines from all over the world reside. It's an honor and great fun to be a part of Taste, and I'm really looking forward to it. It's also great exposure for our restaurant and hard-working, talented staff.

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