Japanese influence on NY chefs?
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.