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Beard Awards: The Chefs Speak!

Beard Awards: The Chefs Speak!

Photo: MenuPages Chicago

Now that you've heard what the hangers-on thought of the Beard Awards, let’s hear from the chefs and honorees, shall we? Among the many things Jada Yuan and Angela Gaimari learned at last night’s gala is that Daniel Boulud would rather commandeer a restaurant’s kitchen than risk being served by a bad chef, and that David Chang would sooner order Grand Sichuan than cook for himself. Here’s more insight into the lives and minds of last night’s culinary A-listers.

MARIO BATALI
Are you going to be using the gym membership Gwyneth Paltrow gave you?
Somebody made that up. If she gave me one, she certainly wouldn’t leak it to the press. It’s a slow news week. They find guys like me.

If someone did give you a gym membership, would you use it?
I go to the gym. I already go to the gym. I have yoga at my house. I do Printing House for squash, and I do X-Fit for boxing. Seven days a week.

What’s your best yoga position?
I don’t know. Downward dog?

Can you do a headstand?
I can do a headstand. I can also do the one where you get up on your hands alone. I’ve been practicing!

How are men and women different in the kitchen?
It’s in women’s nature to be better because they don’t cook to compete, they cook to feed people. Back in Italy, the best chefs are never dudes — it’s always the grandma. There are two ways to make someone happy — both are by putting something in them … right now we’re talking about food!

WYLIE DUFRESNE
What do you cook at home?
Come on — I go out to eat! I don’t cook at home, but my wife can make just about anything.

DAVID CHANG
What do you cook at home?
I don’t. I order Grand Sichuan delivery.

DANIEL BOULUD
You just won for Best Service. What’s the worst service you ever had?
We were in Suzuka, Japan, and looking everywhere for a decent place to eat. We finally found a steakhouse, and the service was so bad that there was no way I was going to trust the chef. So I went back behind the counter and cooked everything for my friends and I served it, too. That was the worst I've ever had!

DREW NIEPORENT
How did it feel to win Best Restauranteur?
Bittersweet — I really wanted Corton to win for Best New Restaurant too — but I’m like the Yankees — I can’t win 'em all, especially when they're up against the Red Sox.

MICHAEL SYMON
Do people recognize you now that you’re on Iron Chef?
Yeah, being recognized — it’s better than having shit thrown at you. I got a couple of letters from a guy in prison, too, but that’s about it.

ERIC RIPERT
You’re famous for your seafood — do you go fishing in the summer?
Oh no, I’m much too lazy for that. I like to lie on the beach, smoke my cigars, and wait for someone to bring the fish out to me.

ALDO SOHM, LE BERNARDIN
Do you believe in spitting out wine?
When I do professionally, yes. When I’m on the floor I can’t, but normally we only taste a little drop. There’s a misconception. People believe we’re getting drunk. But no. If you’re getting drunk, it’s very, very dangerous. I’m very disciplined there, because as soon as you sign up for the AAs, you’re out.

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