By now you've all read about that little restaurant in the west village with a tougher door policy than any nightclub this city has to offer. You know, the one with the famed truffled mac and cheese and a phone number that still doesn't acknowledge the place as opened? You can imagine our excitement on getting the head chef to sit down and tell us his secrets...
I've known John Delucie throughout the years and have always respected him first and foremost as a chef and manager. He also happens to be a very cool guy. He kicked ass at La Bottega at the Maritime Hotel and then found phenomenal success through his restaurant The Waverly Inn (Graydon Carters west village hotspot). After a generous meal there and over cocktails at The Soho House (where he was also once a guest chef), John was gracious enough to answer a few of my probing questions:
John Delucie is stealth rock star chef, and that's why I adore him.
Food is....... ? Life and like life we need to maintain a healthy sense of humor about it. We need to stop watching so much food TV.
If you weren't a chef...and this is a second career for you... What else could you see yourself doing? Singing standards at the Algonquin.
What inspires you? People functioning at a high level, whether art, food, music, commerce. I recently saw a documentary on the artist Chuck Close. It made me want to saute chicken better.
What is after the Waverly....the book....? Any interesting projects you can share? The book, entitled "The Hunger", will be published by Ecco Press in the Spring 2009.
After that who knows. I will continue to get up each morning and go to work.
What is the most gratifying part of being a chef/partner at one of the most exciting restaurant this city has seen in a very long time? People will come to the restaurant and pull me aside and say that the food is wonderful.
A born and bred New Yorker.... What excites you about eating in New York? What doesn't turn you on at the moment? New York is home and I love the energy. I'm not crazy about the Madison Avenue-ing of Bleeker street in the West Village where I live. Progress? I'm not so sure.