Charlie Palmer is making some changes at Aureole and the more casual Liberty Room at Aureole by promoting Gabriele Carpentieri to executive chef of his flagship and Renaud Besnard to executive pastry chef.
Carpentieri, originally from Milan, joined Aureole in 2013 and grew up visiting his grandfather’s olive farm, which has shaped his penchant for seasonal ingredients and olive oil over butter and cream. But it’s also Palmer’s taste that’s changing. “Spending half my time in wine country,” says Palmer, “is also carrying through to our menus.”
Palmer’s California restaurants include Harvest Table and Charlie Palmer Steak in the Archer Hotel Napa; Dry Creek Kitchen at the Hotel Healdsburg in Sonoma County; and Burritt Room + Tavern in the Mystic Hotel. Here in New York, Palmer recently relocated Charlie Palmer Steak to the Archer Hotel. Aureole has been open since 1988 on East 61st Street and relocated to Times Square in 2009.
The new menu that launches this week includes warm vinaigrettes, quick sautes and the next ingredients for spring like asparagus and morels. “It’s so very different than ten years ago,” says Palmer of what’s coming out of the kitchen at Aureole. Unlike, say, the newly opening Grill in the Seagram Building, he wants Aureole to present dishes using fine ingredients “in a fresh and immediate way, but we don’t want to do it with a lot of pomp and circumstance,” he says.
As for his new head chef, “Gabriele is a very level. He’s not a screamer. He’s not excitable,” he says. “And he’s Italian, so he has a background that has a place for all the things we’re talking about, too. This kind of cooking is natural to him.”
Besnard has been working in pastry since he was 14 years old, living in the Paris suburb of Sartrouville, when he apprenticed under baker Gilles Bajolle and began producing breads, chocolates, and viennoiserie with his mentor. From there, he went on to Hotel Le Ritz, Hotel Le Bristol, and La Table de Joel Robuchon. He moved to the U.S. the same year he started working for Palmer.
Check out the new menu here: