Last night at Minetta Tavern, everyone came out in style to celebrate Adam Rapoport’s first issue of Bon Appétit. While Rapoport beamed and mingled with David Chang, the Franks, Mario Carbone, Scott Conant, Daniel Boulud, and about every other chef in New York, we spoke to a few interesting guests who, for obvious reasons, wanted to talk food!
Gwyneth Paltrow made a quick appearance (she’s got that cookbook to sell, after all), and she told us what she made her family for dinner earlier: "I just made everyone turkey sandwiches for dinner, with potato chips! Everything was from Murray’s, of course. I mean, what’s better than Murray’s?" Then we took it a little further and asked what a man could hypothetically cook to win her heart. "I’d have to say roast chicken," she told us. "Only because it’s almost impossible to fuck that up!"
Aziz Ansari, who’s featured in the new Bon App issue, should take note. "I know my restaurants but I don’t even cook," he confessed. "I’m really talented at things that aren’t attractive to women and generally useless in the world, like I’m amazing at Foosball and Ping-Pong. Cooking would be too useful and handy." But he must have at least tried, right? "I once made some Velveeta Shells and Cheese for a girl. She was on ecstasy and thought it was fantastic."
(Incidentally, Ansari also believes he’s discovered a solution for childhood obesity: "Make a really healthy Happy Meal option and just put the toys in that one. That’s the answer! Only the really, really rich kids would be able to buy both the healthy and unhealthy Happy Meals.")
When Ansari’s buddy, James Murphy, joined him mid-interview, we opened the "Is food the new indie rock?" discussion. A horrified Murphy quipped, "God, I hope not. Otherwise it would be a bunch of people trying desperately not to succeed and mediocrity would rule. So no, I would shoot myself in the face if food were the new indie rock."
Back to the kitchen, the magazine’s publisher, Pamela Drucker Mann, tells Grub, "I think I would call myself a foodie, yes … but now that I’m at Bon Appétit, chefs send all sorts of things out, like bone marrow. I’m not quite ready for that." Her secret passion? Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. (A girl after Ansari’s heart!)
Really, the only epicuriously uninspired person there was the evening’s host, ever-blunt Keith McNally, who, after telling us his feelings on chefs ("They’re overhyped at the moment and I think they need to go back to the kitchen"), proceeded to let us know that he doesn’t even like food magazines. "I don’t read any of them; I don’t like any of them," he told us. "If I read them, I realize all the things I don’t know and I feel very inadequate." So why’d he agree to let one take over his restaurant for the night? "Because I like Adam a lot and it’s really for him — not for some chef."