Chef Roman à Clef Continues; Keith McNally PilloriedYesterday we treated you to the first chapter of a story seemingly based on Sam Mason and his trials and travails with Tailor. We can now confirm, after contacting the author — who is remaining anonymous (even to us!) because he or she is “notorious within the industry” — that the story is based on Mason and Johnny Iuzzini as well as other players. “Yes, I plan on continuing,” assures the well-connected scribe, “and yes, I have inside info. I’ve been getting a lot of mail, but I would never run anything that I hadn’t triple-checked to be true.”
Vegetables Suggest Liebrandt’s New Restaurant Is a RealityThe mystery and excitement surrounding Paul Liebrandt’s new venture is a testament to … what? Boredom? Curiosity? The shaggy dog story? The cutting-edge chef has never been a big favorite with the public; he’s more of a cook’s cook, much in the same way that A.J. Liebling was a writer’s writer, or Mark Jackson, a point guard’s point guard. But there’s a hint that his long-rumored restaurant might actually be more than just a rumor, thanks to Bret Thorn from Nation’s Restaurant News, who happened to receive a press kit for the Culinary Vegetable Institute. (What, like you’ve never been to a vegetable institute? Just stay with us here.) Liebrandt is named as having taken part in a chefs summit at the institute; more important, he’s actually listed as “Chef Paul Liebrandt, of his signature Restaurant Liebrandt, opening Fall 2007, New York City.” What? Thorn is on the case, and so are we. More as this develops.
Restaurant Liebrandt? [Foodservice Blog/Nation’s Restaurant News]
Related: Liebrandt and Nieporent, Sitting in a Tree…
Liebrandt and Nieporent, Sitting in a Tree…
The impending collaboration between Drew Nieporent and Paul Liebrandt, whether at Montrachet or elsewhere, is probably the worst-kept secret in the restaurant business. But the hirsute restaurateur isn’t slowing down the rumor mill any with his latest high jinx. At a party at Mai House earlier this week, Nieporent was showing people candid pictures of Liebrandt that he had taken with his cell-phone camera. We followed up with the Montrachet mogul, and he insists that “it was just tongue in cheek, because of the way you people have been going on about Paul and I.” Well, that’s fine – but how did pictures of Paul Liebrandt fishing get into Drew Nieporent’s phone? Either there’s a serious man crush going on, or the two are about to do a restaurant together. (Or both.)
Earlier: Can Paul Liebrandt Make New York Safe for Molecular Gastronomy?
Liebrandt (Sort of) Linked to Montrachet; First Pulitzer for a Food CriticL.A. Weekly’s Jonathan Gold is the first food writer to win a Pulitzer Prize in criticism. (Links to some of his recent reviews included.) [L.A. Weekly]
Work is going on at Montrachet, and owner Drew Nieporent is seen in public with brilliant unemployed chef Paul Liebrandt, lending some possible credence to the rumored Liebrandt-helmed relaunch of the place. [Eater]
Yeah, there’s some good food to be had in London, but the city’s still not there yet. [NYT]
Related: Has the Food Over There Really Become Edible? [NYM]
Nick Morgenstern Rips Gilt a New OneFormer Gilt pastry chef Nick Morgenstern has given us the inside dope on his firing last week. According to Morgenstern, chef Chris Lee and hotel management are pinning the move on each other: “They’re doing a little dance, pointing at each other, and they don’t want to give me any severance,” he tells us. Meanwhile, he’s heard that Lee’s pastry-chef buddy David Carmichael (formerly of Oceana and the Russian Tea Room) was seen checking out Morgenstern’s kitchen while the chef was out of town. But why did he get canned, anyhow?
De Marco’s Maniac Caught On Tape; NYC Denied Shamrock ShakesThe NYPD releases a surveillance video of the De Marco’s gun battle. It’s difficult to make out, but very graphic and not a little disturbing. [WNBC]
Brace yourselves: McDonald’s has decreed that there will be no more Shamrock Shakes in NYC, although they’re still widely available elsewhere. What’s up with that? [NYDN]
The Smith and Wollensky Restaurant Group is enjoying a sudden bidding war for its acquisition, after having already accepted a good offer. [Crain’s]
De Marco’s Bartender Shot in Village Gun Rampage; Big-Check Chains on theDeMarco’s bartender and two NYPD auxiliary officers shot and killed in Village gun rampage. [NYP]
High-end chain restaurants like Smith & Wollensky or Dos Caminos are on the rise, as some recent mergers and acquisitions suggest. [Nation’s Restaurant News]
Joël Robuchon stands behind the counter at L’Atelier this week; Alain Ducasse may not be going to Chicago after all. [Snack]
Trump Eyes Tavern on the Green, Tavern Blushes; Steingarten in a BathrobeDonald Trump covets the most vulgar thing in New York that doesn’t already have his name on it: the Tavern on the Green, which has two years left on its lease. [NYP]
A Zeitgeist moment: The East Village’s alt.coffee gives up the ghost, remaking itself as a “Hopscotch, a café tailored to the needs of children and families.” [Gawker]
Candela owners shutting down and reopening as Irving Mill Restaurant and Tap Room in the fall, with Gramercy Tavern alum Johnny Schaeffer doing his Greenmarket thing in the kitchen. [Strong Buzz]
Back of the House
Can Paul Liebrandt Make New York Safe for Molecular Gastronomy?The details aren’t yet clear, but it seems that one way or another, Paul Liebrandt will soon be leading a restaurant in New York. (Snack asserts that it will be Montrachet, but Vogue’s Jeffrey Steingarten tells us that it will be a new venture with Drew Nieporent; the two are searching for a space.) Add to that the launch of Sam Mason’s Tailor, the buzz around Jordan Kahn’s work at Varietal, and the mainstreaming of tropes like foams, and it looks like molecular gastronomy will have another shot with New York diners.
Paul Liebrandt Back in Play; Rat Chief Vows to Exterminate the BrutesThe city’s rat-patrol chief vows that “the rats will not win.” [NYT]
In Vogue, Jeffrey Steingarten reveals that New York’s top unemployed chef, Paul Liebrandt, is doing a restaurant with Drew Nieporent. Snack asserts it’s Montrachet. [Snack]
Amusing slam of Bruni’s Robert’s Steakhouse review from conservative mainstay National Review. Need we say more? [National Review Online]
Back of the House
Jean-Georges Vongerichten on His Gift for DelegationNo chef in New York restaurant history has been more successful, or more influential, than Jean-Georges Vongerichten. As he begins his third decade of cooking and running restaurants in New York, we sat down to ask him some questions about the scene: how it’s changed and where it’s going.
Sam Mason: “It’s Like the Special Olympics”Sam Mason, the former star pastry chef at wd-50, will be launching his own restaurant and lounge, Tailor, at the beginning of March. In the weeks leading up to then, he’ll take us behind the scenes of a hot restaurant opening.
Hunger Gala to Help Feed Recently Fired ChefPaul Liebrandt, the talented young chef recently handed the mitten at Gilt, will be back in action next Wednesday, cooking at the Action Against Hunger fall gala. Liebrandt, one of the few unemployed chefs in New York with his own Website, will be prepping the main course, chef Joe Murphy of Jean Georges will be doing the dessert, and Andy Gold of the Institute of Culinary Education is handling the appetizer. Though the focus, we admit, will probably be on the honorees, Susan Sarandon and Dr. Daniel Py, and the presenters, Christy Turlington and movie director Terry George. The event will be held at Capitale, the opulent former bank space where we so recently attended the Batali roast. We expect this to be far more dignified. And far more expensive.
World Food Day Gala, November 15, Capitale