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Jul 21, 2000 06:32 AM

"Kitchen Confidential" - I still want to know . . .

  • c

Who is or was "Bigfoot"? The author says he's a
well known Village chef and gives other hints.
I'm sure someone knows. Please tell.


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  1. With some trepedation I can safely say he is one Andrew Menschel, a legend in NYC's West Village. While I never worked for him, I'm 100% on this.

    17 Replies
    1. re: Chef72

      I searched for previous threads re: Le Halles and only found a few. Will anyone who has eaten there speak up on the quality of his cooking? Is he the enfant terrible he makes himself out to be?

      1. re: bryan

        Chef Bourdain makes superb Bistro cuisine at Les Halles. The place is quite noisy, smoky, and crowded; i.e. just the way a bistro oughta be and a great energy level. Be prepared to ear BIG portions. As far as the "enfant teribe" thing, my guess is that Bourdain runs his kitchen with just enough fear and screaming to keep things running smoothly. (See chapter on "Bigfoot.")

        1. re: bryan

          I gave it a very enthusiastic write-up in my dining diary (see my 5/10 entry at the link below). At least I thought it was enthusiastic...Bourdain stopped returning my emailed attempts to interview him right when it came out!


          1. re: Jim Leff

            Jim, has no one told you that he listed as one of his two favorite websites in the USA Today Sunday Supplement?

            1. re: e.d.

              I found this site from the USA Weekend article--7/14-7/16. "My Web: Anthony Bourdain. Movers, Shakers and Their Bookmarks."

            2. re: Jim Leff

              [Re: Jim's review of Les Halles] I read it at the time and, for what it's worth, I also thought your review was very enthusiastic. I guess perhaps he wanted a different image from the one you gave of his place, or something - who knows. Artists can be temperamental, as you know, and great cooking is certainly an art that requires talent and pride. [shrug]Anyway, I'm sorry he apparently took offense.

              1. re: Michael
                Anthony Bourdain

                No offense taken. I was very pleased with an entirely fair review...Simply crazy busy travelling around like an intinerant Borscht Belt comedian flogging the book.

                1. re: Anthony Bourdain

                  Yeah, the book's doing great, and you are everywhere (my MOM has heard of you!).

                  I mean, I consider mjyself to write strictly for readers, not chefs, editors, so I can't let myself care whether my opinions piss anybody off. But it's always weird when restaurants get mad at me for rave reviews (I've got some stories you wouldn't believe...I was once served fetid, rotton meat by a restaurateur who figured out who I was after I'd given him the hugest rave that--as he himself admitted--actually saved his restaurant from imminent demise). So I'm glad to know this wasn't the case...


            3. re: bryan

              I ate at Les Halles this past December and had a wonderful meal. Bourdain is no longer in the kitchen...and no one pretends that he is. But I thought the quality was excellent. I sat by myself and didn't feel rushed or out of place. The place is noisy...and lighting can be a little dark in some areas (as in couldn't read the book I brought with until I added a few more candles to the table) but the food was spot on french bistro.

              I can't remember everything I had (appetizer or dessert) but I know I had a nice spicy glass of red wine and the hanger steak and pomme frites and was a very, very happy girl.

              The table sitting next to me had what looked to be a wonderful meal...all different dishes. I kind of wish I had went with a group of 4 like them so I could sample all the different things on the menu.

              Is it the best French cuisine in NYC? Probably not. But its damn fine French bistro cuisine and that's all that matters.

            4. re: Chef72
              David Jacobson

              Which places does/did he own?

              1. re: Chef72
                Phil Sgueglia


                Thanks for the scoop on Bigfoot. I too was very interested to know who the legendary character was. Drew Nieporent came immediately to mind.
                Are Drew Nieporent and Andrew Menschel one and the same? I had to ask, as Drew is a common handle for Andrew. Maybe Nieporent is Menshel's surname alias with French panache? Any more info would be appreciated. Take care and all the best, Phil <---<

                1. re: Phil Sgueglia


                  Andy Menschel and Drew Nieporent are two different people. I hope you were kidding. Andy Menschel, as I remember him, was/is a legend in his own mind - and a legend to anyone who was in the restaurant business in the Village in the 80's.

                  I worked in the restaurant business in the early 80's. Cooked and lived in the West Village and knew Andy Menschel. He frequented the restaurant I cooked at, and we would go to his places after work, and I recognized him immediately by the description in "Kitchen Confidential". Trust me, please. There is only one Andy Menschel. They threw away the mold after him. It was so much fun to read the book and know instantly who "Bigfoot" was.

                  1. re: Sharon Flory
                    joan marie davidson

                    so now, years later, IS it Andy Menschel?

                    1. re: Sharon Flory

                      Is Bigfoot definitely Andy Menschel? What restaurant was it that they worked at in the village? Thanks

                      1. re: jdream

                        May I say that I went to college with Drew Nierpont and know Andy Menschel personally. They are 100% not the same person. Andy is 100% bigfoot.

                        1. re: jdream

                          I worked for Andy Menshel from 1977-1979. Amazing man! He managed the Buffalo Roadhouse in those years. In that time, we never ran out of anything and nothing was ever out of order.

                      2. re: Phil Sgueglia

                        they are not the same person if you would like to see bigfoot go to the dakata roadhouse on park place. its his newest project.


                    2. i had it pegged to be drew nierepont. anyone agree?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: neil

                        I never thought of Drew Nieporant. I didn't
                        think he was ever a chef - only a restaurant owner/guru and pal of Bobby DeNiro.