Keith McNally's Crush On Anna Wintour Helped Him Get His Restaurant Start

by Guest of A Guest · September 16, 2020

    If you're not following Keith McNally on Instagram, what are you waiting for? The beloved restauranteur (of Balthazar, Pastis, Morandi and Minetta Tavern fame) is totally unfiltered, with a grid full of the most delightfully cheeky anecdotes. 

    His latest random reveal? Turns out that many moons ago, when Mr. McNally was still a restaurant employee, his crush on a certain infamous magazine editor led him to realizing his restauranteur destiny...

    "After I became General Manager of One Fifth restaurant in 1976, I noticed an attractive young English woman coming to brunch every Sunday afternoon. One Sunday, she arrived just as the kitchen was closing and asked for her usual order of Eggs Benedict. The chef, like many chefs in those days, refused to cook the order because it was given to him one minute past closing time. I told the chef she was a really good customer and, regardless of this, she was quite pretty. Hearing she was pretty, the Chinese chef exploded and threw his sauté pan at me: “If she so pretty, You make her Eggs Benny!” I picked the pan off the floor, and for the First and Last time, went behind the kitchen line and cooked the pretty customer’s order. I had a hash of the Eggs Benedict but the incident had rich consequences. The young woman was Anna Wintour who, after hearing that I was one who cooked her brunch, graciously introduced herself. Then that day onward the two of us became v. good friends, and several years later Anna would be responsible for me opening my first restaurant, The Odeon."

    [Photo via Masterclass]