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Fatty Crab

Zakary Pelaccio is Creative Director of The Fatty Crew, which owns and operates three locations of Fatty Crab, the critically-acclaimed Southeast Asian 'joints' focusing on Malay cuisine, and Fatty 'Cue, where American BBQ blends with Asian flavors. He most recently embarked on a handful of kiosk operations called Fatty Snack. His restaurants reflect the distinctive facets of his classical training at The French Culinary Institute, stints at The French Laundry and Daniel, and time spent living and working in Europe and Asia. Zakary is a dedicated supporter of local and sustainable practices, a board member of Heritage Foods USA, and a founding partner of The Cooking Room.


Fatty Crab



How do you characterize your cuisine?

Rigorously sourced seasonal products subjected to a Southeast Asian culinary sensibility...but not always. Or as the late, great Gil Scott-Heron would say, "File me under miscellaneous."

What region or ethnicity most influences your cooking?

New York and Southeast Asia.

What is your signature dish?

Depends where. Right now I like the fermented whole porgy at Fatty Crab and the smoked lamb shoulder and fermented ribs at Fatty 'Cue.

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


Have you ever lived or trained overseas? Where?

In Italy, Malaysia, and Thailand.

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

Fermented tofu.

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

Downtown Fatty is a small, gritty "joint." Cue is a mellow, low-lit bar area built with repurposed materials that makes it feel aged. Uptown is solid, airy, and inviting.

When you cook for yourself, what do you make?

Whatever is growing in the garden plus what I find in the woods plus a protein plus chili in some form or fashion.

Tell us about some trips you've taken for inspiration.

Every time I go anywhere I get some sort of inspiration. Except Midtown.

What are your thoughts on global cuisine?

Due to the ease of transportation and open access to information, we are exposed to so many different perspectives, ideas, and bright, turned-on people. Those of us fortunate enough to observe this and be a part of it should enjoy the ride and work to bring a few people, at the very least, along with us.

It's enlightening to know and accept that what works for me, here, now, may not work for someone else here or somewhere else. This holds true for flavors, diet, food systems, etc. Access to great variety and perspective is both humbling and freeing.

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

I get to hang with Gillian Duffy.

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