Each week, we highlight one (or in this case, two) of the city’s great — but obscure — young chefs.
Name: Amy Louise Eubanks and Emilie Bousquet
Age: Both 32
Restaurant: BLT Fish / BLT Fish Shack
Background: BLT Fish and BLT Fish Shack are twin restaurants under one roof and have separate chefs de cuisine. Eubanks cooked at Cello, Laurent Tourondel’s first big New York restaurant, and then with Andrew Carmellini at Café Boulud before returning to open BLT Steak and then BLT Fish. Bousquet worked on the line at Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, Spice Market, and Olives NY, and was the executive chef at Café des Artistes.
Why they are comers: Eubanks toiled for a decade in some of the city’s best kitchens before helming BLT Fish in time for its three-star Times review. Says Laurent Tourondel, “Her management style is firm but not overly aggressive. She runs the kitchen with a firm hand but is still a people person; she never screams. And she’s a very find cook: Her signature dish last summer, ‘marinated Ecuadorian shrimp / fried green tomatoes / spicy buttermilk aïoli / tomato foam’ blew my mind.” Bousquet, for her part, has already run a major New York kitchen, Tourondel credits her with totally revamping his all-you-can-eat mussels special: “Mine was very traditional,” he says. “Her new version is done with caramelized onions, applewood smoked bacon, sage, and beer. Brilliant.”
Self-described style: Eubanks: “I always start with the produce, and then pair up the fish. Which I think seems backwards to most people but makes sense to me.” Bousquet: “Everything I do is innately French. I guess I’ve just worked with too many French people.”
Judge them by: Eubanks: “I really like my grilled-sardine appetizer. I took all the components of a niçoise salad — minus the lettuce — and composed the sardine with them as three individual salads. It’s got a lot of flavor and complexity going on, and visually, it’s exciting to look at.” Bousquet: A “spada tonnato,” with swordfish subbing in for veal. “I roast it and freeze it, then slice it, and it more than stands up to the tuna sauce.”
Guesstimated time of arrival: Eubanks: “I have no particular desire to fund my own restaurant. I like that somebody else is responsible for paying the light bills. I’m given the freedom to create the food that I want to create.” Bousquet: “It all depends if I leave New York or not. I can’t imagine leaving. Not for the next five years, anyway.”