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Mar 5, 2001 09:55 AM

Japanese influence on NY chefs?

  • l

I'm a journalist working on an article about how Japanese cooking has influenced NY chefs... Who are the big-name, non-Japanese chefs who have adopted Japanese cooking styles or ingredients or methods? ...any thoughts/opinions would be appreciated.

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  1. Check out Local on 47th St. This place goes further than being influenced by Japan (design as well as cuisine); it seems to have a Japanese theme. There are even a couple of sakes on their wine list. They have a website which posts their menu. The chef's name is Franklin Becker.

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      Erica Marcus

      I suggest you talk to Michel Nischan, the chef at Heartbeat in the W Hotel. The restaurant's baliwick is not Asian food, but healthy food, low in saturated fats, refined carbohydrates and additives. But chef Nischan found a lot of inspiration in Japanese cooking since it is virtually the only cuisine around whose cooking methods and condiments--with the exception of tempura--do not rely on fat. He's also a very personable and articulate guy.

      1. Hi Lisa,

        Would you be interested in the viewpoint of a non-Japanese NY chef currently living/working here in Tokyo? If so, let me know, and I'll see if I can hook the two of you up (probably via email).


        1. Tadashi Ono is a Japanese guy, but he has worked for 20 years in French restaurants (including as the head chef at La Caravelle) and his Japanese-inflected French cooking at Sono is by far the most interesting of its type in the United States. He deserves to be as famous as Jean-Georges.

          Alfred Portale at Gotham has taken some things from Japanese cuisine, and always has a few great Japanese-ish dishes on his menus. Jean-Georges Vongerichten is obsessed with sushi. And Wayne Nish at March is incredibly influenced by Japan in terms of presentation.

          Most of the so-called Japanese influenced chefs, however, rarely stray past the occasional wasabi vinaigrette.

          1. Rocco Dispirito, Executive Chef at Union Pacific combines French cooking techniques with Asian ingredients. His website has sample menus that reflect a Japanese influence.