Aaron Chamberlin Dishes on Daniel Boulud, Jean-Georges and What He Learned at LGO
This is part two of my interview with Aaron Chamberlin, chef owner of St. Francis. If you missed part one, where Chamberlin dishes about why he's not a celebrity chef and the over-hyped opening of St. Francis, read it here.
Buchanan Chamberlin plating the pork chop
- St. Francis: Happy Hour Report Card
Favorite thing to eat growing up: Anything cooked outside over a campfire.
Favorite thing to eat now: Foods that are packed with nutrients for energy.
What's your guilty pleasure?: Chocolate before bed.
Name a culinary mentor and explain what you learned from that person: When I worked for Michel Richard, he told me that it takes 20 years [to be ready] to open your own restaurant. Twenty years after he told me that, I opened St. Francis.
Buchanan Pork chop on chestnut puree with Savoy cabbage and whole grain mustard sauce
What advice would you give an aspiring chef?: I'd say what Michel Richard said to me: Put your head down for 20 years. Learn the craft!
Weirdest thing you ever ate: Steak with dirt on it. It fell off the grill, and I was hungry.
The media has made stars of chefs and now farmers. Good thing or bad thing?: It's a great thing! These are the people feeding us, our communities, which, to me, is a very serious job.
You have worked for some really big names in the industry, including Daniel Boulud. What was that like?: They ate me for lunch. I worked there 28 days and 28 days I walked home in tears. I was in way over my head.
So what happened?: I called Michel, who called his friends and I worked all over New York -- Park Avenue Café, Aureole, Vong. Jean-Georges [Vongerichten] and his people were really nice. It was a whole different ballgame. He was really savvy.
In what way?: When you work for Jean-Georges, you get a recipe book. Most restaurants are run free-style, but he was very structured, he had systems: "Be a robot and if you're a good robot, one day you'll have your own robots."