Tag Archives: Interviews

I Chat With: Chef Jim Botsacos of Molyvos and Abboccato

Chef Jim Botsacos at Molyvos, NYC. Photo Brent Herrig.

There’s something about an Italian chef.

And there’s something about a Greek chef.

Jim Botsacos is both Italian and Greek.

He had a lot to talk about.

Today on Serious Eats NY I chat with Chef Jim Botsacos of Molyvos and Abboccato restaurants in Manhattan. It was a truly delightful interview. For he talked mostly on family, and food, and culture. On how we inherit food traditions from our elders and how to bequeath them to the younger generations.

Chef Jim’s eyes light up when he talks about dishes and methods and ingredients to the point that both of our mouths were watering and he had to punctuate his sentence with a hand-gesture or a “boom” or “pop” vocally. His “tutti mangiare”, “shit, man” and “amazing” made him sound so New York City. He pulled out pictures of his kids. I walked away with tips on making meatballs incredibly fluffy and how to bake eggplant down to buttery, soft deliciousness.

And then there were things, as someone who also comes from very food-centered Mediterranean roots, just really hit home:

“Over the course of time you lose the language and people change, but you still have a close connection with the food.”

“Instinctively I gravitated towards the food of my culture. It’s imbedded in me. Family dynamics change, but no one can take food away from you.”

The interview is up today on Serious Eats NY.

Check it out.

Tutti mangiare!

I Chat With Chef Anita Lo of Annisa, NYC

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“I’ve always been a fan of language in general. On some levels I think that literature is the highest art—it excites the imagination, which had no borders to it.”

Today a particularly lovely interview goes live on Serious Eats NY: a chat with Anita Lo of Annisa. The 25th in this very special series, it’s another one that makes me feel so fortunate to be so welcomed into the kitchens of some very generous, talented, hard-working people.

And head here for a roundup of my favorite quotes and stellar images (from my rockstar partner, Brent Herrig) with the chefs in e series thus far.

Happy Monday!

I Chat With: Doug Quint of Big Gay Ice Cream

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I’m way super psyched that this morning my first ice cream interview comes out on Serious Eats NY. On a gorgeous day in Union Square I had a fun and absurd talk with Doug Quint of Big Gay Ice Cream. My editor told me it put a smile on his face from start to finish. I like my editor. Hi Max.

As I prepare food for my the family I work for to eat on my days off, seeing another interview go live pumps me up for returning to Manhattan and sitting with a few more awesome people – first Anita Lo, who I am incredibly excited to sit with. And then George Mendes, a fellow Portuguese chef who I can’t wait to brain-pick.

As I type at my iPad in my work kitchen, pondering what food I’m making today, I’m feeling very much at peace. I am exhausted from a long weekend of cooking for many people. But they were all lovely people, and I feel like I’m starting to get good at my job, finally settling into my skin with it. I’m going home to a good man who I really care about who is making ME an insane dinner tonight. And I’m celebrating turning 31 this week with my wonderful family, my dearest friends, and sustainable health. I am much happier right now than at this time last year, when turning 30 felt significant but hard. For the first time in my life I feel – naturally and fully – an adult. It was a weird realization… But a comfortable one.

So, enough reflection…

Go check out my interview with Doug on Serious Eats NY, to start your day off on a happy note.

From the water in Amagansett, happy Monday,
Jacqueline

I Chat With: Chef Jehangir Mehta of Graffiti and Mehtaphor

Chef Jehangir Mehta at Mehtaphor, Photo Brent Herrig

Over some red wine and chicken satay, I chatted with Chef Jehangir Mehta about his passions, the state of Indian food and chefs in NYC, and the difference between an allergy and a fad. For a chef with so much on his plate – he’s been on the Food Network for several Iron Chef incarnations, has two restaurants, two kids, a book, a catering company and a smathering of classes – Chef Mehta is extremely focused and enthusiastic during our time together.

As Brent and I leave the restaurant, we turn a corner to be met with Chef coming out a side door – he had offered to let us sample an appetizer we had been talking about, and we had left without trying it. I went back inside to a raw oyster sprinkled with Pop Rocks and grapefruit granita. As this crazy explosion of flavors, sound and sensation took over every crevice of my mouth, I couldn’t help by smile and laugh, while Chef Mehta described how he wanted to bring back that childlike excitement of a day on the beach and the thrill of thunderous, crashing waves.

Well done, Chef, well done.

This meeting was one for my column We Chat With… on Serious Eats NY. The series has sat me down at a table across from some of NYC’s most celebrated chefs and creators.

For the full interview, head over to Serious Eats NY.

Thanks.

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