Charles Masson’s Majorelle will begin service March 7th in the Lowell Hotel on the Upper East Side, with new-hire, Giovanni Beneduci as executive chef, in tandem with former La Grenouille sous chef, Mario Fortuna.
Back in June, it was announced that Masson had teamed up with Christian Delouvrier for the restaurant that will open in the old Post House space. It was a big-deal team-up, since Delouvrier had earned four stars from the New York Times at Lespinasse before working for David Bouley and then becoming executive chef at La Mangeoire.
Masson also brings hefty experience to the project, having managed the dining room and flowers at La Grenouille for many years, then briefly worked at Chevalier in the Baccarat Hotel after he was ousted from La Grenouille by his mother and brother.
Things changed in December, when Delouvrier said he was only a consulting for the restaurant — as opposed to head chef — saying he would give input through the end of the month, with plans to consult periodically beyond that. At the time, Masson maintained that Delouvrier was still the restaurant's chef, and told Eater, “Delouvrier was on the payroll” and, “as far as I know this is untrue.”
Today, it’s Fortuna and Beneduci who will oversee Majorelle’s Moroccan-influenced, Mediterranean menu — an homage to Jacques Majorelle, the French painter who spent much of his time in Morocco. The newest hire, CIA grad Beneduci has an affinity for Japanese fare, most recently working as sous chef at the Andaz in Tokyo, with stints in the kitchens of Morimoto and En Japanese Brasserie.
During his training, Beneduci did stages at Jean-Georges and Daniel before landing a job as a line cook at Le Bernardin. "He was serious, very committed and did an excellent job for us,'' reports Eric Ripert.
The March opening will unveil the redesign of the bar, library lounge, garden, and lobby. The Lowell’s Pembroke Room will see a redesign later this year.