239, West Broadway,
If today in Manhattan you don’t need to dress like Gordon Gekko any more, and have his money, to try a real modern French cuisine it is (also) thanks to Paul Liebrandt. English, ten years ago he moved to New York City and, a few years later, decided to wisely lighten the formula of the French luxury restaurant. At 35, the boy has gathered stars and consents that only few chefs of his generation can boast.
However, his story starts from far off. First of all, special thanks to Marco Pierre White . From 1994 to 1996, in the eponymous restaurant in London the young Paul diligently learnt the French culinary grammar. He improved it at Raymond Blanc in Oxford, learnt how to master it at Pierre Gagnaire in Paris. In 1999 his move overseas and a flying start: Bouley Bakery of David Bouley. Then the desire to make it on his own: Atlas and Papillon obtain respectively three and two stars from the New York Times, a lot of praises – «a pianist that seems to have found a couple of dozens of cords more» – and some critics for a sometimes self-referencing experimentation.
In 2009 the Corton was established, from the ashes of the Montrachet. To the chef it finally represents the place of maturity and pacified excesses. To New York City, it is a new way to interpret no frills contemporary luxury, even though it is a Michelin two-star restaurant. It is not by chance that it is located in Tribeca, modern, casual, and vibrating district a bit like Liebrandt’s cuisine. Classical school is a precious heritage and not a burden (it can be realized in the master cooking and the perfection of pastry-making) even if the mind is opened to the world, especially to Eastern Countries. In 2008 Frank Bruni of the NYT wrote that the main sensation, at the end of a dinner, was that of not remembering the dishes. It was a very well hit compliment.
Liebrandt style is extremely enjoyable and easy and «it is not necessary to make the mental inventory of ingredients or to make the puzzle of tastes to appreciate the sensuality of a dish». Immediate pleasure overcomes the theoretical part. Without excluding the product. In the Corton kitchens only seasonal raw materials originating from the United States can enter, such as the fantastic Mangalitsa Pork, from a farm in Ohio. A nationalistic localism. Even if he always stresses – with a Chelsea accent and a boaster look – to be English. An Englishman (chef) in New York.
Born in Rome, wine and food writer for Il Sole 24Ore, La Repubblica and L’Uomo Vogue. He's a lecturer at Iulm and Food Media for several American colleges. Twitter @fdecesareviola
Please fill in the fields below to search our Protagonists' database.
French chef David Toutain, since December 2014 the chef of the homonymous restaurant at 29, Rue Surcouf, Parigi, +33.(0)1.45501110. According to the eighth edition of Identità Golose’s Guida ai ristoranti di Italia, Europa e Mondo, out next November, he’s the Best Foreign Chef. He follows Pascal Barbot (2008), Renè Redzepi (2009), Josean Alija (2010), Inaki Aizpitarte (2011), Giovanni Passerini (2011), Daniel Humm (2012) and Kobe Desramaults (2013)