Todd English Talks Libertine, Eva Longoria, And What Food Turns Him On

by CHRISTINE CHO · August 4, 2008

    Todd English On Jimmy Kimmel

    Todd English along with the Thompson Hotel Group will open Libertine this fall in the Financial District. Following in the footsteps of his other long lasting restaurant at the W Hotel in Union Square, Olives, Todd E. will bring his creative flare to an area on the revival.

    Aside from being an accomplished chef and entrepreneur, Todd is one of those personalities that light up a room by sheer presence. We have been friends for quite some while and it always gives me pleasure to know I have new place to eat under his wing. Get ready for some good food and some good times at Libertine!!

    How was the concept created for Libertine? Where did you pull inspiration for the menu? Any particular pub or place? The inspiration for Libertine is really that clubby, 1970's London vibe, updated into something modern. I've always really loved tavern food, so the menu reflects a lot of classic dishes reinterpreted with cheeky twists.

    tenglishHow do you feel about opening up it FiDi? I'm excited to open up downtown. It's becoming a really hot new residential area, so we are aiming to make it the next big destination spot.

    You just opened Beso in L.A. with Eva Longoria and now Libertine soon to be open in the fall here in NY. Anything else you can share with us on the horizon? This November I am opening Campo, an Italian restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Early 09 I am opening a branch of my Figs concept in West Palm Beach with Macys. In April I am doing an Asian restaurant in DC, at the Thompson Hotel Group's Donovan House.

    What currently turns you on about food? What have you had enough of? I just came back from Peru, where the chefs are doing incredible things. I think Peruvian food is going to be the next big thing.

    You are a very successful chef, but is there anything you are embarrassed to admit you like eating? Vienna Sausages?? Dirty water hot dog? I love old school hors d'oeuvres. Pigs in blankets are my favorite.

    How have you stayed so good looking while some of your colleagues look weathered and doughy? Is that annual tan for real? Exercise is a big priority for me, and I work out regularly with my trainer. I love to eat, so it is all about balance and staying healthy. And yes my tan is real.

    Which would you prefer a beautiful woman or a Lafite '65? A beautiful woman to share a bottle of Lafite with me.

    Why do you think chefs get such a bad rap for their temperament and character? Some call it artist temperament others call it crazy. Defend- The restaurant business can be very high stress. In the middle of service, the priority is taking care of the customers and making the food the best it can be. Sometimes tempers can flare in the midst, but it is all about insuring the quality of what we put in front of the customer.

    Most memorable meal.... It's not one meal, but moments of many: the beluga and osetra caviar tasting course on the 1st flight on the Concorde after the crash, a tasting of '45 Bordeaux wines in the Bordeaux countryside, the roast chicken with 40 garlics at Tante Paulette in Lyon.