One of New York’s most beloved and respected chefs, Scott Conant brings a deft touch and unwavering passion to creating food that is unexpected and soulful. This year marks his return to the culinary scene with the opening of Scarpetta in New York City’s Meatpacking District and Miami’s Fontainebleau resort.
Topic: Culinary Adventures
Scott Conant: I went to-- last year I went with my wife to China. She does a lot of business in China so I took a trip with her. And, you know, experiencing a lot of the- the different- the different foods in- in Shanghai and Hong Kong and, you know, visiting some of the restaurants in- it was a very- it was interesting form a- from a business perspective how they do business in a lot of these-- if you go on the seventh floor of the building and you’re kind of around the corner and through a door and then through a back door you’ll actually find a restaurant, which is an apartment but there’s like six tables inside of it, and there’s some guys cooking and-- you know, that- from a business perspective that’s a very interesting thing. That being said, some of the food that was- was coming out of those kitchens I found- I mean, I- I was really kind of blown away with some of the products-- you know, textures on things that were just, frankly, disgusting sometimes; like, I just can’t imagine eating this thing again <laugh>. But in addition to that, you know, I love to travel. My wife is Turkish; I got married in Turkey in September, and experiencing some of the- just some of the fresh fish that are coming out of the water and the simplicity of those things, it’s- it’s- it’s great. I mean, you know, I- I- I love to experience different things, and, you know, not a lot is very, very new anymore. But you know when you- when you get it and it’s right and it just
kind of blows your mind, you know, those are all-- I mean, who does- you live for those things; I live for those things. It’s fabulous- fabulous.
Question: What was your highest compliment?
Scott Conant: The- probably the biggest compliment, and it’s happened more than once fortunately, it’s- you know, you get the customer in, and whether it be my father who’s an extremely picky eater or someone else that- that comes in and they won’t touch-- you know you have those friends who just, oh, they see-- if it’s not like a boiled chicken breast, they- they don’t want it. And so, you know, the biggest compliment I can get, I guess, when it comes to- to that type of stuff is-- having- having a customer come in and eat things that they would never eat, but because of the- the food, you know-- I like to do things in a very simple manner, but, you know, a few twists here and there that just make it a little bit interesting, at least for me, and have them kind of taste everything, that they would never do or never even thought of doing before they walked in the door, and that level of trust with a customer is- that’s, for me, the key. That- that would probably be the biggest compliment, that that’s the type of meal I want, you know. I wish everybody could be like that.
Recorded on: 03/24/08