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Q&A with Scarpetta's Scott Conant

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Throughout the New York City Food & Wine Festival this weekend, Eater welcomes bloggers, journalists and food world stars to our lounge at the Standard Hotel. As the peeps pass through, we're going to chat them up and spit out the dialogue here in this business, From the Eater Lounge. Right now: Scarpetta's Scott Conant.

2009_10_scottc.jpgHow are things at Scarpetta, sir? SC: The restaurant is busy. We have a pasta party tonight [Saturday]. We’ve got a bunch of wine—it’s going to be a late-night party. Also, how awesome is [Festival director] Lee Schrager? He throws the best three-day party there is.

And the rest of the Scarpetta empire? SC: Scarpetta Miami is doing really well. New York is at insane levels. Your GM said earlier that it's at capacity. Sure, we’re at capacity right now. But as the owner, I always say that we can do better. But as far as Miami goes, I get to spend time in Miami and Miami Beach and get paid for it. How cool is that?

What’s coming up for you? SC We’re looking at some new projects. Toronto is next. We were going to do two places in the Fontainebleau in Vegas but it looks like that's not happening anymore. Is that a big food town right now? SC: It's not necessarily a great food town per se, but there’s is a lot of great food in Toronto. There’s such as huge crossover between Miami and New York, and the hotel partner that we have up there really likes what Scarpetta is doing. So we’re looking at opening up there next year.

No Scott TV show? No, nothing right now. We have a new season of Chopped coming up. So you're going to put the hammer down on more young chefs. Some of these guys need to be given a little kick. You may not be able to tell because of the editing but Geoffrey Zakarian is really the hardest one. And Alex can be brutal too. But no Avec Scott in the works. No, not yet—that would be awesome, though right? [Eric Ripert's] show is so great. He’s a highly respected chef and does it all—he’s one of my heroes.
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