GQ runs an excellent though unfortunately titled Q&A with Mr. Thomas Keller (almost TIME's Person of the Decade) and the chef de cuisine at his restaurant Per Se, Jonathan Benno. Given the new expansions within the TK universe and the impending departure of Benno, it's a timely piece. The most interesting excerpts:
Jonathan Benno on his new Lincoln Center restaurant: "It’s not secret, but honestly, it’s not fully developed. It will be a fine-dining and a casual-dining concept under one swooped Diller Scofidio roof, and that’s about as far as we’ve gotten. We don’t have a name yet. I can’t tell you a whole lot more about the style of cuisine there yet. Its heart will be Italian. It will be approximately 120 seats fine dining and about forty seats casual dining."
Keller's burger restaurant dreams: "I think it’s a restaurant I’ve always wanted to do because of my love for hamburgers. When I was a kid, McDonald’s was always a treat, and I think what’s happened is, as my generation grew up on hamburgers, there’s never been the restaurant that’s grown up with us. There’s a lot of great hamburger restaurants out there, but there’s nothing out there that really resembles, to me—I don’t want to say a gourmet hamburger, because that’s not what I’m trying to establish, but a restaurant where you can have a really good hamburger and a really good bottle of wine...Most of my colleagues have already done hamburger restaurants, so I don’t know if I’ll see this through."
Keller's burn on Wafels & Dinges: "I was going to say the trend I see is the truck thing, and I’m not sure if it’s good or bad. I’ve been eating off taco trucks for years, but I just don’t know about doing waffles out of a truck."
Benno on how he'll feel when Keller eats at his new restaurant: "I’m not concerned about the quality of the food. It’s more about the excitement. There’s nothing better than seeing your mom and dad proud of you, and I think it’s that same excitement that comes in welcoming the chef to my new restaurant."
· Benno There, Done That [GQ]