Take a Look Inside Superstar Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Passport
His travels inspired his newest project, New York City’s multistory Tin Building food hall
With 62 restaurants across five continents, traveling is part of the job for Jean-Georges Vongerichten. On the road at least a week a month, Vongerichten traverses the globe basking in culture, cuisine and design.
“Most of my inspiration comes from traveling. When I go somewhere, I come back with so many new ideas,” he says. Many of those international influences are reflected in his newest project, 10 years in the making: New York City’s Tin Building, a multistory food hall and market on the site of the Seaport’s historic Fulton Fish Market. “We kept the essence of the place, creating all these little pockets and restaurants: Chinese, Japanese, Italian, a brasserie. It is composed of a lot of different things.” Here, some of his favorite spots.
“I’ve been going for the last 12 years for my pasta fix. On the Amalfi Coast, it has a beautiful rocky landscape, not a sandy beach. I swim and we dive for sea urchins. If we are there for five days, we usually go to lunch at Lo Scoglio at least three of the days. It is family-owned for generations and they use fruits and vegetables from their garden. The pasta is made with a local yellow tomato and we eat staples like the spaghetti alle vongole, fresh burrata and local wine. For dessert, they serve a basket of figs. It’s a very ‘cheffy’ restaurant.”
“When you spend 14 hours a day doing what we do, it is very hard to have another passion, but I love architecture. I buy a lot of books and magazines about design because it is very related to what I do. It’s a bit different from food, but there is something about layering color or texture. The city that really gets me going with its architecture and design is Barcelona, from Gaudí to Salvador Dalí.”
“I’m from Alsace, but going to Paris is always like coming home. A simple baguette with butter makes me feel homesick. I visit different chefs and my family. Alain Passard at Arpège is a friend of mine. I have dinner there at least once to surprise me with new things, new combinations.”
“The Shinmonzen hotel has nine rooms on a gentle river. We will be opening a restaurant there. We visited a temple next door and the monks cooked their vegetarian and vegan food for me. I made a little confession to them that I would love to have a table for the hotel so people can eat with us one night and then have dinner at the temple. I am so excited. It is spectacular.”
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