Le Cirque chef de cuisine (and former Chefwatch alumnus) Jason Kallert has made the jump into an executive-chef job of his own: running the kitchen at the Friars Club. Wait, the Friars Club? The last time we were there, the place was so heavy on deli food that even the Chinese roast-pork sandwich came with a pickle. But management is looking to modernize the comedy fraternity, and a new chef is just part of the plan. “We have a lot of younger members, more than people think,” newly installed executive director Michael Gyure, tells us. “Fifty percent are less than 45 years old.” Roast standouts Jeff Roth and Lisa Lampanelli are representative of this dynamic younger generation, Gyure says.
For Kallert, the Friars gig is a chance to spread his wings. Although former Le Cirque chef Alain Allegretti was brought on in a consulting role to help set up the menu, Kallert plans nothing less than a revolution in Friars Club dining: “They’ve been doing the same thing for 40 years here. I’m going to bring the food up to date. I want it to sort of be Mediterranean; but I want to change everything, down to the butter on the bread plates.” What, you mean they won’t have those little foil bricks anymore? We better get there soon, before the place is unrecognizable.