Compliments of the Chef with Michael Anthony

Compliments of the Chef with Michael Anthony

This week, Chefs Feed met up with renowned chef Anthony at his restaurant Gramercy Tavern in NYC's Flatiron District.

December 4, 2013
CF: I'm best known for my _______ style of cooking but I can make one hell of a _______.
MA: wood-fired; sushi roll

CF: How would your sous chef describe you in the kitchen?
MA: I hope the one word they would use is fair. I've been doing this for a long time and I think the hardest thing to be in a kitchen is fair. That means being honest, open, communicative, and always looking to improve.

CF: What are you most excited about right now in your restaurant?
MA: I'm so excited we just released The Gramercy Tavern Cookbook. It's something we've been working on for a few years and it's finally out. The book is more than just a cookbook (although it certainly shares many of our beloved recipes in a way that's approachable for the home cook); it's an insider's look at the restaurant with behind-the-scene stories from our team. Danny Meyer and I are taking the cookbook on the road and doing a number of events around the country over the next few months, including a party at Next/Aviary in Chicago on December 9th. For details about our upcoming events (we're also traveling to New Orleans, Boston, Seattle, Portland, Charleston, and Miami), visit gramercytavern.com.

CF: Which chef would you drop everything to stage with?
MA: Chef Seiji Yamamoto of RyuGin in Tokyo. He's a young standout chef doing an incredible contemporary kaiseki restaurant. His food is completely delicious with unbelievable aesthetics. His cooking has a pretty seductive quality to it, which is not typical Japanese. Usually you'll find a non-manipulated quality and naturalness in Japanese food, but he adds really powerful flavors combined with ancient technique.

CF: Insider tip from the kitchen for diners.
MA: We do have a burger, but it's not on the menu. We have a grinder who grinds fresh beef every day and he only makes 30 patties, so when we run out, we run out.

CF: Message to professional food critics.
MA: I think any good restaurant takes a year to establish its identity, so at least try to give them a month or two to get their operations down. We all know when you open a restaurant, it's like presenting it in the middle of an open field; you don't know the space yet. We look at the playoffs and we're excited to see great games. Why would we rush out to see a pre-season game when we don't even know who the starting lineup is? Now I understand all the forces at play here, but if you really are an advocate of the industry, then I say wait.

CF: Is there anything you don't like?
MA: I have a lot of pet peeves actually; I was a pretty picky eater as a kid. So when I see things like overcooked peas, it isn't about me being a discerning chef, it's like I seriously can't swallow them.

CF: Thick or thin patty?
MA: It's funny you ask because the one we serve here is medium-sized, neither thick nor thin. I know medium sounds like a boring answer, but it's a very serious answer. You've got to have the right ratio.

CF: What's for family meal tonight?
MA: We put a lot of time, effort, and pride into our family meals and we always make sure to sit down and spend 30 minutes eating together, both front and back of the house. We have a special tradition on Saturday mornings where the Dominican prep staff makes us lunch. They always end up making all kinds of great things.