Who are the great chefs?

Jennifer Rubell, 36, writer, renowned hostess, hotelier, Harvard grad and member of the illustrious Rubell clan, is poised to become the country’s newest entertaining guru.  Jennifer is currently Food and Entertaining Editor of the Miami Herald’s Home & Design magazine, Former Contributing Food Editor of, the recently folded (March 2009), Condé Nast shelter magazine Domino, and her first book, Real Life Entertaining, was released in May 2006 by HarperCollins.  She writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, and has appeared in, among others, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Better Homes and Gardens, Elle, The New York Times, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Travel + Leisure, Ocean Drive and Food & Wine. In 2007, Paper Magazine named Jennifer one of its 30 most beautiful people.  

Entertaining is in Jennifer Rubell’s blood.  Her uncle, the late Studio 54 owner Steve Rubell, treated Jennifer as his own child, taking her along to parties with Halston, Calvin Klein, Liza Minelli and Bianca Jagger, and inviting her to every major event at Studio 54, starting at the age of 7.  Her parents, world-renowned contemporary art collectors Donald and Mera Rubell, became famous in the ‘80s for the Whitney Biennial after-party they hosted at their Upper East Side townhouse.  With artists like Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel and Andy Warhol roaming around the house, Mera turned out bowl after bowl of spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce, with Jennifer at her side learning the Rubell family style:  personal, unconventional and decidedly hands-on.

  • Transcript


Jennifer Rubell: Mario Batali is a great chef.  I don’t know about past because . . .  I mean Julia Child is a great home cook.  Alice Waters, the food genius of America.  I mean she is the person who took America from being a really pretty mediocre food place to being a really pretty great food place.  I would say . . . I would say those are pretty decent . . .  You’re gonna get me into a lot of trouble.  (Chuckles) There are . . .  You know the thing is I think that there are a lot of very talented chefs out there.  In terms of people who have changed the way Americans eat, there are really just a few.  But different people have done different things.  You know Wolfgang Puck created the open kitchen in restaurants.  That shifted the ways chefs were seen in restaurants in America and really opened the door to the sort of celebrity chef culture that goes on now, which is good or bad depending on what you think of it.  But the great chefs just from a food perspective and what they did for food . . .  I mean Mario Batali popularized cured meats in America period.  He did that, and it’s done.  You go to any city in America now, and whatever kind of hip, swanky restaurant is curing their own meat.  It’s wild.  It’s really wild.  And Alice Water . . . Waters got people into farmer’s markets, and got people into looking at things locally, and got people into believing that great products can be produced in America.

Recorded on 12/13/07