The Cure for the Common Winter Is Butter and Fat
BY PETER ELLIOT, BLOOMBERG BRIEF EDITORDespite promises of
spring, March is looking cold, gray, dreary and likely to
so. From snow to ice to polar blasts, the final weeks of winter
are often the cruelest of allin the northern hemisphere.
Fortunately, the frigid end to the first quarter has at least
onebenefit: It justifies our craving for warm, dense, buttery
A few weeks ago, I was at Portland, the new restaurant in London
run by Will Lander reviewed by Bloomberg critic in this issue.
Nearly everything on the menuRichard Vineslooked sensational and
healthy, save for one indulgent, winter-inducing comfort plate:the
pithivier. What's that, you ask? Think giant pot-pie, filled with
pigeon and mallardmeat, black truffles and a classic game sauce.
You can guess what I ordered.
Be it a boeuf bourguignon, a cheeseburger drenched in onions or
a good old chickenpot pie, winter means you call it comfort, not
gluttony. Besides, we still have severalmonths of sweater weather
to burn it all off.London1. In a land where The Jugged
Hare:shooting remains sport, few restaurantsknow how to serve the
results. But it's notjust game here. Fish pies and a wideselection
of ales will warm you up fast.
2. Asian comfort food counts, too. Koya:This is the leader in
the London udon andramen wars, in part because chefs lovethe
foot-trodden noodles and fair prices.
is a strong second place.Bone Daddies
3. A room where all isThe Savoy Grill:right with the world. And
one of GordonRamsay's treasures. March is pie month;try the steak
and Maldon Rock oyster orthe chicken and crayfish. And a
New York1. The quintessential The Little Owl:Greenwich Village
restaurant. Relaxedbut serious rustic-Italian food to warm
anystomach. Try walking in. Reservations arevery hard to secure
until they know you.
2. Andrew Carmellini's most The Dutch: relaxed and homey spot
(with an equallygood sister in sunny Miami) specializes
inaged-meats supplied by Pat LaFrieda. It'sNYC's most secret
3. Even after its move acrossFranny's:Flatbush Ave to new digs,
the wood-firedovens here generate warmth andfantastic pizzas. Feel
better about thecarbs by trying their wonderful salads.
Bloomberg Global Top Five*
London1. Real live food, really aliveBeast2. Gymkhana Best
Indian pub3. Scott's Mayfair's classiest fish joint4. City Social
British in the sky5. Chez Bruce European favorite
New York1. NYC's best bistro?Little Prince2. Mexican game
changerCosme3. Chic in every wayThe Nomad4. Bobby Flay's
SpanishGato5. Refined luxurySushi Nakazawa
Hong Kong1. Korean fried chickenUncle Padak2. Mid-East fun in
Wan ChaiDjiboutii3. Retro Italian from NYCCarbone4. Popular
FrenchOne Thirty-one5. Business ChineseMott 32
Paris1. The original L'AtelierRobuchon2. My favorite
FrenchTaillevent3. Asia plus techniqueMum Dim Sum4. Bistro
perfection Le Grand Vefour 5. A French jewelry boxL'Astrance
*Top is compiled from on the DINE Bloomberg Terminal. The
formulaincludes hits, reviews and ratings.
The return of comfort foods and whyMarylebone is the new "it"
place. Clickthe photo or to launch.link
IF/THEN BY PETER ELLIOT, BLOOMBERG BRIEF EDITOR
Source: Bloomberg/Peter ElliotIt's really a fancy pot pie the
game pithivier at Portland in London
March 2015 Bloomberg Brief Reserve 2
IF/THEN BY PETER ELLIOT, BLOOMBERG BRIEF EDITORIf You Like
Barbuto... ...Then You'll Love Little Prince
Simplicity as a food style still has an uphill battle in a world
where many diners expect rarefied cuisine for their money. In
1984,Jonathan Waxman opened Jams, exporting casual Californian
style to New York and then London. Ten years ago he opened
Barbutoin the then forlorn West Village and captured the zeitgeist
again. People have been licking their fingers unapologetically ever
since.Restaurants like Balthazar, Little Prince and others that
practice sophisticated simplicity owe a debt of gratitude to
Waxman. The bestnews for simple cuisine? Jams will make a comeback
this spring in NYC at Barry Sternlicht's 1 Hotel Central Park.
Address: 775 Washington Street, NYCSetting: Industrial open-plan
chicFood: Jams 2.0 via ItalyBar Scene: Great for eating and
wineNoise Level: Cacophonous and funDate Factor: If he/she isn't
soft-spokenGroups: Two of the best private tables
in New York and easy for small groupsSecrets: Do you want to see
Hollywood really does deals? This is theplace for starlet (and
Little Prince (New York): The latest inheritor of bistro chic.
Bloomberg clients love itfor its French onion soup burger, the
quinoa salad and its lack of pretension. Its locationon the far
Western edge of Soho makes it equidistant to almost everywhere in
The Red Cat (New York): I love the slang "moreish" to want more.
This Chelseastaple headed by Jimmy Bradley has a new chef, new
pastry chef and a new menu.
Al di La (Brooklyn): Consistently at the top of lists for New
Yorkers wanting to crossthe river. Portuguese influenced comfort
food reaches its coziest peak right here. Eat thebacalao and the
braised rabbit, and don't skimp on dessert. Try its twin . Al di La
Casse-Croute (London): Classic French. It wins on value for
money and an authenticexperience. It's also open morning through
night. Start the day with a pain au chocolat.
Bocca Di Lupo (London): This Italian brasserie is to London what
Barbuto is to NYC.Just the right edge of chic, just the right edge
of crowded, just the right edge of fun.
Blixen: An informal take on the grandEuropean brasserie, set in
Spitalfields.Quickly becoming the anti-Soho House.
Dolls House: The successful pop-upopens a permanent location
with bar,restaurant and private members club.
Engawa: A teppanyaki (iron griddle)restaurant specializing in
seared Kobebeef in the chic Ham Yard hotel.
LondonChevalier: La Grenouille's Charles
Masson opens his own "next-generation"spot in the new Baccarat
El Colmado: Seamus Mullen of Tertuliafame, back from London with
a tapas barin the Gotham West Market.
Ganso Yaki: Tadashi Ono, a master ofJapanese yakitori, teams up
with theGanso team in downtown Brooklyn.
New YorkBabbo Pizzeria: Mario Batali and Joe
Bastianich's first outpost of the Babbobrand-name at the new
fancy Fan Pier.
Committee: A dash of Mediterraneansun just in time to get out
from under themounds of snow. Also at Fan Pier.
Bisq: Sister of Bergamot, so think smallplates of
French-inspired fare, seriouswines and a deeply Cambridge vibe.
YOUR NIGHT OUT BY PETER ELLIOT, BLOOMBERG BRIEF EDITOR
Source: Bloomberg/Peter ElliotNew York's best chicken: Jonathan
Waxman's $19 legend at Barbuto
Source: Bloomberg/Peter ElliotNew York's best hamburger: 'The
French Onion' at Little Prince
March 2015 Bloomberg Brief Reserve 3
YOUR NIGHT OUT BY PETER ELLIOT, BLOOMBERG BRIEF EDITOR
Marylebone Is London's Newest Revitalized Hub and the Center of
Its Culinary FutureMarylebone is the new "it" area of
London. The dense, red-brick Victorian
neighborhood, owned by the Howard deWalden family, was once
famous fordoctors offices, charity shops andbachelor flats that
housed the fictionalSherlock Holmes. In the mid-1990s, theowners of
the estate decided to changecourse and entice in restaurants
andchic-retail shops to inject new life.
This revitalized area is as close asLondon gets to the urbanity
of New Yorkor Paris. It's now full of public-relationsexecutives,
bankers and fashionistas whowant solid apartments with
elevators,security and lots of nearby amenities.Think of it like
the Upper East Side withbetter food.
Andre Balazs's Chiltern Firehouse is theepicenter of the scene.
Paparazzi lurk at
its entrance waiting for a taxi to drop offfamous faces. Like it
or hate it,
Marylebone typifies London's ascendanceto a serious restaurant
Go With ClientsDRINKSArtesian: At the Langham Hotel onPortland
Place. A great entry point.
The Cavendish: This is a moreinclusive, if equally refined,
Chilternvariant. Bar as well as restaurant.
DINNERChiltern Firehouse: It's beendecades since a restaurant
hascaused such hype. The star of AndreBalazs's empire if you can
get in, it'sthe place for celebs of everyprofession. Is it worth
it? Yes, if youwant to be in the "in" crowd. The hypewon't last
forever, but it's fun now.
Trishna: The most delicious Indiancoastal food from the team
that wenton to develop Gymkhana.
Galvin Bistrot de Luxe: Top notchbrasserie fare at
semi-reasonableprices, plus a charming dining room.
L'Autre Pied: The restaurant thatstarted the
Marylebone-foodrevolution. Still sensational on everylevel. Sister
of nearby Pied a Terre.
Go With FriendsDRINKSThe Bok Bar: A pub next to Chilternwhich
means it attracts a similar setplus the wannabes. Fun
peoplewatching. The Grazing Goat: A French villagepub. Drinks and a
solid restaurant forbreakfast and weekend lunch.
DINNERPortland: The most important newrestaurant to open in
London in years.It the chic-casual urbanity ofcapturesthe
Carousel: The concept is a new chefalmost constantly. Pop ups
taken tothe next level. A great gimmick forspotting new or foreign
Donostia: Basque-focused tapas.Have the cod cheeks with squid
LATE NIGHTPurl: The twin of Worship StreetWhistling Shop.
Authentic Japanese barCocoro:open til 4 a.m. Like a trip to
Go With FamilyBrunch:Fischer's: The Wolseley team
goMitteleuropa. Think 19th CenturyVienna. Open almost around
Opso: Arguably best modern Greek intown, all served tapas style.
Alsoopen breakfast, lunch and dinner.
DINNERLe Relais de Venise: Some call it aFrench McDonalds.
Actually, McD'soffers more choice. Here it's steak.salad, dessert.
Still, simple works.
Tommi's: Some say these are thebest burgers in London. Easy
andcasual. Perfect for friends/family.
28-50: The numbers are winetemperatures. It's a wine-bar
conceptthat works for both drinks, dinner anda casual meal with the
Orrery: Orreries are mechanicalmodels of the solar system.
Thismeans the children can learnastronomy while you celebrate
abirthday or graduation. Expensive.
RESTAURANT REVIEW: LONDON
Source: Bloomberg/Richard VinesChiltern Firehouse's doors open
to red-brick buildings full of restaurants, shops and
March 2015 Bloomberg Brief Reserve 4
RESTAURANT REVIEW: LONDON
London's Portland Restaurant Mixes Rustic Dishes With Rollicking
WinesBY RICHARD VINES
Many restaurants open with a splash.It's Champagne usually
Prosecco if theparty is thrown by an Italian or acheapskate.
Portland snuck under the radar lastmonth when it opened on Great
PortlandStreet, in central London. If any corkspopped, I didn't
hear them. No publicistswere employed.
This informal British restaurant, housedin a former clothing
showroom, isself-effacing to the point ofnear-invisibility. The
decor is understatedand the prices are modest. Even thecooking
isn't show-off: The finest dish is apie.
The game pithivier, for two people at19 ($29.37) per person, is
the mostexpensive item on the menu. The crust issoft and buttery,
without being soggy orcloying. The meat is so rich and powerful,it
would go to Davos each year if it werehuman.
But then we would be cannibals foreating it, so let's park that
image to oneside.
The filling varies. When I tried it, stripsof pigeon meat formed
a layer over wholemallard breasts, providing a contrast oftextures
and colors and mouthfuls ofalmost melting flesh. Game sauce
areduction made with birdy bones justtakes the flavor deeper, as
does someblack truffle, resulting in one of thosemoments when
conversation stopsbecause you are using your tongue totaste rather
than to talk. The sensation isdark and smoky, a smoldering fuse
The menu starts with snacks, includingpig's head croquettes
crispy, unctuous,and oozily seductive which are servedwith a kimchi
mayonnaise. The acidity ofthe dip whips the balance of crisp
andfatty flavors into line. This is rustic foodthat has an urbane,
Pickled shitake mushrooms come withsoy and ginger. Did I say
this was aBritish restaurant? We're all multiculturalnow, with the
exception of the occasional
Chelsea soccer fan in Paris.White onion and parmesan soup is
vegetarian flavor hit, as is the potatognocchi, served with
pumpkin and kalepesto. Blood sausage, a gooey boudinnoir, bashes
your taste buds and thenwallops them with red onion.
And the smoked ox tongue sandwich?I'd say it speaks for itself,
if that weren't atroubling thought. Let's say it is like a
bigpastrami treat with sauerkraut and grainymustard between slabs
The desserts are fine, though I rarelyget excited about
desserts. The lemontart successfully walks the line betweensweet
and sharp without wobbling. It istopped with meringue as well as
tarragon,a classic combination for a taste of theMediterranean.
The chef, Merlin Labron-Johnson,comes from Devon, in the west
ofEngland. He worked at restaurants inSwitzerland and France before
spendingtwo years at In de Wulf, in Heuvelland,Belgium, which holds
a Michelin star.
His dishes are clean and unfussy, withtypically just a few
ingredients. Thepresentation is similarly well-judged
It's the wine list that makes Portland aslam-dunk for me. A
rollicking good timeis assured, unless you are depressed.
Although it is short, there are severaltreats, including ""En
Chalasse" JulienLabet 2012, a Chardonnay from Jura thatis subtle
and lemony. While it's not cheap,at 57, it is available by the
glass (at 11)if you are on a budget. The reserve list iseven more
tempting. The Wood RoadZinfandel, Ravenswood, Sonoma 1996(69) is
more than worth the price, thoughI think I have finished it, so
The owners are youthful industryveterans. Will Lander co-owns
the QualityChop House while Daniel Morgenthau isex-10 Greek Street.
One of the positivesabout Portland is that the menu and thewine
list change almost daily, dependingon what is available. It's that
kind of place.You're not going to get signature dishesor fawning
service. Think neighborhoodrestaurant and you should be fine.
Lookelsewhere for quote-unquote elevatedgastronomy.
Portland may not bring a lot that is newto the table. It just
fills it with things youwant to eat and drink.Richard Vines is the
chief food critic forBloomberg. Follow him on Twitter
RESTAURANT REVIEW: NEW YORK
Source: Bloomberg/Peter ElliotChef Merlin Labron-Johnson working
behind the line at Portland in Marylebone
March 2015 Bloomberg Brief Reserve 5
RESTAURANT REVIEW: NEW YORK
Hunt & Fish Club Commits Crimes Against Truffles, Misses
Steakhouse MarkBY TEJAL RAO
If you're looking for a tater tot partylubed with truffle oil
and aioli, I know justthe spot: New Yorks hottest club is Hunt&
Fish. The 10,000 square-foot restaurantopened recently in
Manhattans Midtown,right by the formerly-haunted BelascoTheater,
and specializes in faux-magethat thing where restaurants say
they'rean homage to a classic steakhouse, thendo whatever.
As Stefon might put it, this place haseverything: the kind of
fragmented mirrorsused to foreshadow psychotic breaks inthrillers;
giant paintings embossed withpoems in braille; and, soon, a
shoeshinestation so you can share a porterhousewith an escort in
The porterhouse is a rather serious,impressive cut of meat. At
first glance, itlooks like a T-bone, but its carved fromslightly
farther back in the animal, wherethe frame widens, so the steak
gives youa more generous amount of tenderloinalongside that
exquisite and arguablymore delicious strip. The one at Hunt
&Fish Club comes from Pat LaFrieda, amarquee-name, New
Jersey-basedpurveyor that ages the beef for 28 days.The porterhouse
costs $55 a person andarrives at the table sliced on the bone in
apool of dark juice. It should be the star ofthe evening.
Sadly, the meat on a recent eveningwas corpse-cold,
under-seasoned, andcooked so unevenly that it was nearlyblue on one
side while the other wasbloodless and grey. The beef had
beenmistreated on the carving board as well sliced into inelegant,
crooked piecesthat varied wildly in thickness.
About 15 minutes after the porterhouselanded, just as the fat on
the slate hadbegun to congeal, the bearnaise arrivedin a small
silver pitcher. The butteryemulsion appeared to have traveled
agreat distance and it was exhausted.
The most ostentatious burger on thelunch menu is the Mirrors and
Marble($32), an under-seasoned patty of rib-eyeand strip, which
apparently comes withbone marrow and black truffles,
bothundetectable under a layer of bacon,truffle aioli, and thick
fried-onion rings.The fries, advertised as parmesan fries,
are skinny and pale and tasteless.Desserts are presented
with very tall garnishes. Take the prettyslice of Devils Food
cake ($14),balancing on a log of coffee mousse,covered in silver
dragees (the shiny,unpleasantly crunchy beads often used todecorate
holiday cookies). It is expertlybuilt, with many thin, even layers,
but itsfar too dense and inexplicably bland, likea slice of
defrosted wedding cake.
There may be reasons to go to Hunt &Fish Club, but a fine
meal isnt one ofthem. Former Morgan Stanley executiveNelson Braff,
Skybridge Capital founderAnthony Scaramucci, and restaurateurEytan
Sugarman opened their restaurantin an old relic of the theater
district theformer Hotel Gerard, built in 1893 andlandmarked a
couple of decades ago.The buildings facade on 44th Street
isbeautiful and the main dining room insideis grand, glinting with
mirrors and marble,twinkling with hanging lights. It's faintlydeco
but meant to evoke nostalgia for theunrestrained decadence of the
1990s. Inmany ways it does: The scene is big andbuzzy and includes
the finance industry,curious tourists, and local celebrities.The
bar up front is a comparativelycozy, dark room with velvet and
leatherchairs, absolutely packed at happy hourwith flirtatious
fortysomething men insuits, tanned women in TV makeup, and
the odd business meeting.Hunt & Fish Clubs attempts
athigh-roller glam could be fun if the qualityof the service and
food were higher andthe levels of luxury were consistent.Instead,
its just awkward, as when youwash your hands and someone
performsthe outdated, unnecessary service ritualof squirting the
soap for you. The restaurant embraces an additionaldated
extravagance: truffle oil. "This is a little piece of heaven,"
thewaitress told me as she set down a plateof truffle tater tots a
side shed singledout earlier in the evening as a must-order.Our
ideas of the afterlife must be quitedifferent. The tots were
enormous, eachbig enough for several bites. Some hadburned crevices
but insides filled withstrips of raw potato. The tots were dousedin
so much truffle oil, they smelled like apetrol station on a very
hot day. Truffle oil tastes nothing like the realthing, and it
should be used sparingly,ideally, not at all. Truffle oil is to
freshtruffles as the light of your screen is to thesun. Its also a
bully, edging out everyother scent in the room with its
intense,artificial clobber. Just as Hunt & Fish is toelegant
Manhattan steakhouses: a loudand often clumsy imitation.
Tejal Rao is the New York food critic forBloomberg. Follow her
on Twitter @tejalrao
DESTINATIONS: PORTLAND, OREGON
Source: Bloomberg/Evan SungHunt & Fish Club's mirroed black
lacquer bar is popular with Midtown's after work crowd
March 2015 Bloomberg Brief Reserve 6
DESTINATIONS: PORTLAND, OREGON
A Foodie Paradise Where You Can Open With a Nickel, a Dream and
a Food TruckBY PETER ELLIOT
Portland, Oregon may be the buzziestcity in the food world. Its
hippy pastmeans healthy-urban living is culturallyingrained today.
Couples drop their kidsat school, debate last night's dinner,
thenfeed their backyard chickens. Alternatemodes of transportation
mean there'svirtually no traffic. There are three timesmore food
carts than garbage trucks.
Duane Sorenson, the founder ofStumptown Coffee, and Andy Ricker
ofPokPok are the city's reigning kings.Venture-capital funds are
eager to signbig checks and spread the gospel ofperfectly roasted
coffee or Khao Soi(curry and coconut soup with noodles)originating
in the hipster mecca.
Portland incubates talent well in partbecause it's cheaper than
other U.S.cities and tolerates failure. The standardrule to open in
most cities is dont tryunless you have enough capital to getthrough
your first year. "In Portland youjust need enough to open and get
by,"said Jenn Louis, a 20-year veteran of the
Portland scene who runs restaurantsLincoln and Sunshine Tavern.
"With anaverage income of $30K per year, morefamilies spend money
on food than theydo on ballgames."
And that's precisely what I found in Portland. Food is the
city's sport. While
there are some high-end restaurants withincreasingly L.A.
prices, the bulk of themremain cheap, delicious andexperimental.
Each restaurant (or foodtruck) is working hard and hoping
they'rethe next Stumptown or PokPok. Theymight be.
Top Restaurants:Little Bird Bistro: The more casual bistro
sister of much
lauded Comfy banquettes. Downtown.Le Pigeon.Ava Gene's/The
Woodsman Tavern: Owned by Stumptown's
Duane Sorenson with strong NYC influences (and prices.) AG'sis
more Italian, while WT is all about the meat (and oysters).
Ataula: Jose Chesa is considered the most important Spanishchef
this side of Jose Andres. A perfect gastropub Espanol.
Navarre: A hodge podge of styles: Spanish, French and
Italian,plus great technique, a Portlandia vibe and reasonable
pricesmake this my favorite restaurant in the city.
Bollywood Theater: One of the most fun places to try
Indianstreet food without going to India. Fantastic
indoor/outdoorspace, too. Get the spicy fried okra, the papri chaat
and a t-shirt.
Beast: An explosion of all things meat cow, pig, duck,sheep, you
name it, from James Beard winner Naomi Pomeroy.
Maurice: This tiny gem downtown is part pastry shop andFrench
lunch spot. Plated desserts and lunch.
PokPok: Make the pilgrimage to the home of the patron saintof
Thai food in America, Andy Ricker. Know that he often skipsthe
lines and goes to down the block for the pho.Ha & VL
Brunch: Almost every restaurant does a brunch menu. Portland
residents don't get stressed about anything except brunch. Take in
the neon: From the famous Portland, Oregon sign with its white
stag, you'll see more cool neon signs here than
anywhere else in America outside of Las Vegas. Many are attached
to strip clubs, which also double as music venues.Wine country: An
hour southwest of downtown are some of the best Pinot Noirs in the
world. If you have an afternoon free,
select a few of your favorite vineyards (after trying them in
local restaurants first) then head out to the Dundee Hills.Get in
line: Getting into almost anywhere means standing in line. Don't
cut. The idea here is to get friendly with your fellow
neighbors, learn what they've eaten or are planning to eat, and
make new friends.Get a shave and a haircut (or a tattoo): Old
fashioned barber shops are everywhere. I chickened out on the
tattoo challenge.Music: Great food and great music go hand in hand.
Which came first? Portland's music scene? Or its food scene? Go
find out.Donuts: Voodoo Doughnut had lines swirling for blocks.
You'd think they were cronuts. You'll see the pink boxes all over
Next month: Berlin. MSG me at firstname.lastname@example.org
SPOTLIGHT: SOBEWFF BY PETER ELLIOT
Source: Bloomberg/Peter ElliotPortland's essence captured: Food
trucks, facial hair, tattoos, baby strollers and sensible cars
March 2015 Bloomberg Brief Reserve 7
SPOTLIGHT: SOBEWFF BY PETER ELLIOT
Chefs Converge on Miami for Wine, Food FestivalBloomberg Brief:
Reserve and Bloomberg Radio headed to Miami to cover the largest
food event in the U.S., the South Beach Wineand Food Festival.
Chefs and industry leaders stopped by our studio at the Loews Hotel
Feb. 19-22 to talk trends and visit with friends.Here are some
favorite moments, complete with audio files. Just hit the orange
"play" buttons to hear a mix of soundbites and full
"I'm opening a Chineseversion of Girl & the Goat forthe year
of the goat. And Iwant a baby!"
Jonathan Waxman, Andrew & Rishia Zimmern, Alex Stupak
The Zimmerns pop into an interview. Waxman's advice to his
youngercolleague? "Keep doing what you're doing and never stop. And
don'tforget, your new son Jackson is more important than any
"In three years I'm on a beach,making food I want andworrying
about what kids eat.That's all."
"The cronut is a sensation, butit's only one of many tricks
Ihave up my sleeve. Just youwait."
"How to take on big food?Chefs are the loudest voice inthe food
chain. And I yell loud.And long."
Aaron Sanchez Crashes Marc Murphy's Interview
Murphy: "To know Aaron and his mom, Zarela Martinez, is
tounderstand the history of Latin flavor in this country. Now can
we goback to discussing minimum wages and tipping? That's a big
"Tao, Lavo, wherever we are,I'm out there making sure ourclients
get great food theyrecognize that tastes great."
Todd English, Peter Elliot, Marcus Samuelsson, Ming Tsai
Marcus: "I've spent my whole life discovering, and
rediscovering, fromEthiopia to Sweden to America to Harlem. The
more I get attacked fornot being a 'native,' the more native I
become. Red Rooster was just thestart. Now we're doing Harlem
EatUp! and Streetbird Rotisserie."
Checking out Reserve whilewaiting to go on air to discussher
book "Clean Slate.""There's butter in it. Don't worry."
March 2015 Bloomberg Brief Reserve 8
April Bloomfield Ponders Life as a Reluctant Celebrity Chef and
a Decade in NYC
When the notoriously shy April Bloomfield was"discovered" in
2003 at London's River Cafe andbrought to New York to run New
York's hippestand most star studded gastropub, The SpottedPig, she
was 29 and had never been to America.In her native Birmingham,
she'd wanted to be apolicewoman. With her business partner
KenFriedman, she's since opened four morerestaurants, got the
highest score ever on theFood Network's Iron Chef series and
starred inPBS's "The Mind of a Chef" where she waspositioned as one
of the world's most importantchefs. As she gets ready to release
her secondbook, "A Girl and Her Greens," Bloomberg Brief'sPeter
Elliot caught up with her in New York.
Q: When you first arrived in the U.S., itwas like you were the
bride in anarranged marriage. Is that true? A: More or less! Jamie
[Oliver] was afriend of Ken [Friedman], and Ken ofMario [Batali],
blah blah. It was fast. Itwas scary. And very exciting. They
knewwhat they wanted for the Spotted Pig. ButI was also ready for a
change. Id gone asfar as I could. I could have stayed another10
years but I wanted to challenge myselfprofessionally and
Q: What have you learned since then? A: I've learned to be a
better manager, abetter leader. I've really had to learn toadapt
and change and mold. You have tolearn to change. Or at least I did.
I stillcan't answer every text or e-mail Ilearned to get a lovely
assistant. Most ofall I've learned about balance. It's not
justabout the e-mails, or the assistant; it'sabout learning how to
grow so yourpeople have something to hold onto andstill keep a
Q: Can you give me an example? A: Ken would want to open 10
morerestaurants. I want less. So we sit downand battle it out.
:Q Why not? Is it too much personally?Or too much
professionally? A: Both. Too much of everything. If you
don't have a good home life, if you don'tget enough sleep I know
cooks whoparty like animals and then cook behindthe line whatever
it is, if you do toomuch of it, you'll implode. Too manyrestaurants
to me is like that. I look, butI'm cautious.
Q: What is your partnership with Kenlike? What makes it work? A:
We have a good one. We listen toeach other. If were happy, we say.
Ifwere unhappy, we say. We try not tocommunicate too much by
e-mailbecause things can really go awry. Lotscan get misconstrued
by e-mail or text.So we learned to meet a lot, and inperson.
Q: Interview over! That might be thebest piece of advice for
partners,"Don't email, says April Bloomfield!" A: Really? Can I go
:Q Does being interviewed make youthat uncomfortable? A: Yes. I
mean no. No. Ive always beenshy. But being in public comes with
thejob. Its the balance thing again, right?Ive learned to deal with
my shynessbetter. I hope. I joke with Ken that if hehadn't pulled
me from behind the line,we'd never have opened John Dory!
Q: So how did you do Iron Chef andMind of a Chef? Lights,
cameras... A: It's a skill like any other. I forced myselfto learn
it. It's not like I had to act. Ilearned how to look into a camera
andtalk to people, develop that different side.Sometimes it makes
you uncomfortable,but thats good because it means yourestretching
your boundaries and yourelearning from that process.
Q: You've become synonymous withgastropubs. Are you tired of it
yet? A: There was a time in England wheneveryone had that style and
I became apart of it. Now it means more. It meansyou can go to a
place that's casual andget chef-driven food. What irritates me
that I'm interested in all sorts of foods andtechniques. I mean
if I wasnt, it would bekind of weird, wouldnt it? On Sunday, Imade
ramen from scratch just because Iwanted to master it. I really dont
want tobe put in a box. I love warm spices, thingsthat are exact,
maybe one day EasternEuropean or Middle Eastern. And ofcourse,
that's why we did "A Girl and HerGreens." [Which follows her first
book, "AGirl and Her Pig," released in 2012.]
Q: How do you feel being one of thearchetypal chefs of your
generation? A: Uncomfortable. First off, I'm a cook,not a chef.
What a lot of people don't seeis Ive been cooking for 24 years. I
builtfoundations. I sacrificed. Ive cut myselfand burned myself
I've made mistakes.Ive learned from them and grown. Its thejob of a
modern cook but not everyonegets the opportunity. I like the chance
todo these things but at the end of the dayits about my
restaurants. Thats mynumber one priority. Not the TV show
orwhatever it is. I'm old fashioned that way.
Q: So any special dream in yourcrystal ball? A: Well I dont know
that I want to stop.Im very happy I want to have my andown farm.
Chickens, sheep and pig. Idlove to go back to the roots and
startgrowing. We haven't found a spot yet, butIve been looking. It
comes back to that Ilike to learn. And when you stop learning,you
stop growing. I still have a lot to learn.
Source: Bloomberg/Peter ElliotApril Bloomfield and Ken Friedman
March 2015 Bloomberg Brief Reserve 9
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