It’s been a big week for Anne Burrell, executive chef at Centro Vinoteca. As we reported, Starchefs named her a New York Rising Star Chef. But then, who needs such an honor when you’ve already earned the respect of Mario Batali? She’s his right-hand woman on Iron Chef and dines with him now and then. “I love when he eats with his fingers,” she tells us. “He eats salad and asparagus and a lot of stuff with his fingers. I do that as well. That’s how we roll in the kitchen.” Burrell lives in the West Village and spends a lot of time at Batali’s stomping grounds the Spotted Pig, though she’ll only eat the burger when she’s starving — she has never been a fan of blue cheese. “I usually drink white wine on the rocks there,” she tells us. “I even drink prosecco on the rocks. I make it like it’s big-girl soda. I learned it from Cesare [Casella] — he’d always drink Champagne on the rocks.” We asked her where she rocked out this week.
Saturday, August 2
These days because I work so much I’ve been having to get up earlier to write my show. It just got picked up so I’m about to start filming thirteen more episodes. I don’t ever eat breakfast. I always stop at 11th Street Café between Greenwich and Washington and get a large iced coffee with a shot of espresso and a splash of skim milk.
I usually come in to work between noon and 1 p.m., and I stay till the kitchen closes at midnight. I had family meal at Centro (it’s usually prepared by one of the daytime cooks): I ate orecchiette with braised pork, vegetables, and salad.
I finish work at midnight. Around 1 a.m. I went to Daddy-O where I had the Moroccan chicken sandwich. It’s on a yummy ciabatta roll — it’s Moroccan spiced and has just the right amount of mayo and red onions, and comes with a yogurt-cucumber salad. I also love the burger. It’s served with tater tots, and it’s the perfect all-purpose, no-frills burger.
Sunday, August 3
I was off. I spent the whole day on Long Beach where I munched on pretzel sticks all day. Then I went to the Inn. It’s one of the places I go to after the beach, when you’re still wearing your beach stuff, to have a few beers. I shared chicken wings with my friend, and I had a chicken sandwich with Cheddar and jalapeños.
Monday, August 4
I had a falafel and hummus sandwich for lunch.
That night I was at Centro — I had our heirloom-tomato salad and a grilled pizzetta with stracchino cheese and hot sausage and arugula. I also tried our grilled-scallop salad with watermelon-rind pickles, watermelon radishes, dandelion greens, and red onions. It just went on the menu. And I had our goat-cheese-filled squash blossoms with grilled-vegetable panzanella.
I tweak dishes all the time — I’ve never sat down and eaten a whole rib eye or a whole pork chop at Centro although I’d love to. We’ll cook one, and we’ll eat it in the kitchen standing up. I think picking and tasting all the time promotes more unhealthy eating times — when you have to eat in the middle of the night, when I get off work, you have a lot less healthy options.
Tuesday, August 5
I had a big salad and part of our eggplant involtini with charred heirloom-tomato sauce.
For dinner we had a bunch of sautéed summertime vegetables — fava beans, English peas, haricots verts … We had grilled flank steak for family meal.
Wednesday, August 6
I had a piece of pizza from Bleecker Street Pizza just because it’s across the street from restaurant. Family meal was roasted chicken marinated in soy sauce and a big salad.
Late at night we went to ’inoteca and I ate a bunch of stuff there — the tonna and ceci tramezzini. I ate the polpette. The truffle egg toast. It was a whole bunch of people sharing. The panelle were delicious.
Before that, after work, I met my friend Julian Alonzo with Brasserie 8 ½ at Momofuku Ssäm. I got there for the tail end, so I just had a pork bun. Paolo Mastropietro, one of the owners of Irving Mill, and Jill Hennessy, the actress, met us there. The two dishes I love to marry together there are the pork buns and the charred grilled salad — I love to put the salad in the pork buns. I told David Chang he should make it the Anne Burrell bun, but I don’t think he’s going to go for it. If he doesn’t do it, I’ll have to keep buying both of them.