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One of the foodie world’s newest, most grandly gourmet events is coming to New York. On April 16, over 40 Relais & Chateaux Grand Chefs from all over the world will gather for the second annual Grand Chefs Dinner. Last year the dinner debuted at Versailles, and this year’s feast will take place at New York’s Gotham Hall at 1356 Broadway in Manhattan. Among the chefs taking part are such top toques as Daniel Boulud, Jean-Georges Vongerichten and San Francisco’s Gary Danko as well as names who are lesser-known in the U.S. such as Emmanuel Stroobant of Singapore’s Saint Pierre and Jacques Chibois of La Bastide Saint-Antoine in Grasse, France.
The chefs will work together in teams of three, cooking for group of 30 diners and using the same ingredients. The first course features lobster, the second scallops or sea bass and the third either veal or lamb. The dinner, which will partly benefit Citymeals-on-Wheels, will be sourced exclusively from American ingredients. Tickets starts at a jaw-dropping $1,500 a seat. A limited number are still available.
THR spoke with Christopher Kostow — one of only 160 chefs to be named Grand Chefs worldwide by Relais and Chateau (a network of 500 luxury hotels and restaurants around the world) – about the event. A 2010 Iron Chef combatant, Kostow is the chef at the recently reopened Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley. He talked to THR about what it means for him to cook with some of the renowned veterans in the industry — he’s still only 35 — and why he’s decided that menus are passe at his own restaurant.
The Hollywood Reporter: How do you become a Grand Chef?
Christopher Kostow: It’s like an accreditation and unless you start sucking then you stay a grand chef, let’s hope that doesn’t happen to me. I mean chefs love these titles and awards. It helps justify our egos and our behavior. … I’m joking of course.
THR: Can you do whatever you want for the meal at the dinner?
Kostow: They give you some pretty clear directives for the sake of streamlining. I think from what I gather is every chef is doing 30 people, it’s pretty manageable. The cool thing is the names and the talent, and it’s pretty exciting. I worked in France for some time, so I know some of these guys and I know a lot of their names. I’m still young enough to be amazed by some of these names.
THR: Such as who?
Kostow: Jacques Chibois, who I worked for a little bit in France. Marc Meneau, he’s the chef at L’Esperance in Burgundy. He’s just one of those legendary guys. For me the greatest thing is at events like these to be in the same room and talk to them a little bit. I’m probably on the younger side than some of them. What gets lost in the hubbub sometimes is the context, the history, the lineage, the beauty and the things that are passed down. Things like this event help provide a link to the past.
THR: How do you mean?
Kostow: By the nature of Relais & Chateaux, it has such a European old world base and you get to meet a lot of these guys. In America, we don’t always look beyond our shore sometimes.
THR: Do you think you’ll have a chance to spend much time with them?
Kostow: I’m sure that will happen to me. That’s the fun stuff too. All of a sudden your’e having a drink with this legendary guy and it’s pretty cool. For a professional athlete it’s probably like All-Star weekend, it’s less about the game and more about the community and the hang out and the conversations.
THR: Are there any restaurants you’ll be sure to visit while you’re in New York?
Kostow: I have a lot of friends at Eleven Madison Park. Those are good buddies of mine over there, so I’ll probably stop in there.
THR: What are the changes at your own restaurant like?
Kostow: It’s pretty remarkable, it’s the coolest restaurant I’ve ever seen. The way we’re doing the menu now is very cool, engaging the guest in conversation. There’s no listed menu really. We have a huge array of dishes at our disposal and we create individual menus for each table. It’s as dynamic a restaurant as you’re going to see.
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