He was only 16 when his parents took him to L’Auberge de l’Ill, a Michelin three-star restaurant in his native France. When the chef came to greet the family, who had gathered to celebrate Vongerichten’s birthday, his culinary dream was born. It wasn’t long before he found himself in the kitchen at L’Auberge, assigned, as only a fledgling chef in France could be, to chiens chef duty — cooking for diners’ dogs.
Promoted to serving people, Vongerichten soon had an opportunity to cook in Bangkok, in a restaurant belonging to the Mandarin Oriental hotel chain. That experience led him on an eye-opening culinary adventure through some of Asia’s most exciting cities, including Hong Kong and Singapore, where Vongerichten gradually melded his European reliance on butter with newfound delicacies such as ginger and exotic chilies. The experience would forever color and flavor his dishes with a uniqueness that set him apart when he returned to the U.S. and opened restaurants like Jean-Georges and Vong (now closed).
WHAT I EAT WHEN NOBODY IS LOOKING: ”Organic hot dogs or frankfurters”
IF I WERE TO DIE TOMORROW, I WOULD WANT TO EAT TODAY: ”The greatest sushi, probably from Masa.”
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