When meeting Jonathan Waxman, one will find nothing short of an incredibly humble chef. On the contrary, it’s impossible to be humble when writing about this iconic restaurateur, undoubtedtly a culinary legend. Widely known as the Obe Wan Kenobi of the culinary world, Chef Waxman is famous for bringing California Cuisine to the New York City scene with iconic restaurants like Jams, Bud’s and Hulot’s. Waxman – who made it to the final four on Top Chef Masters – now watches over his restaurant Barbuto on Washington Street, a New York culinary favorite. He sat down with The New Potato to let us in on some interesting tidbits – like the recipe to his perfect Roast Chicken and a self-admitted desire to be in the arena with previous protege, Bobby Flay. We’re finding it hard not to boast about this week’s icon…Chef Jonathan Waxman.
Can you describe what your ideal food day would be?
Going to the farmer’s market in St. Tropez. Play tennis. Start drinking Bandol Rose at 12PM. Light the grill and start cooking lunch outside by the pool. Finish cooking at 2PM, finish eating at 5pm. Siesta, then more tennis at 7PM, then start cooking dinner, start eating at 9PM, finish at 12PM, then pass out by the pool.
Where would you like to travel for inspiration that you haven’t been to yet?
Thailand, India, South Africa, New Zealand, Philippines, Russia, Argentina, Uruguay.
What is it about Roast Chicken? What are some tips for doing it right, and what wine goes best with it?
Buy the best chicken. Season it with sea salt and fresh pepper, place in a sauté pan liberally coated with olive oil and roast at 425. Baste often, turn the chicken often, shake pan to ensure that it doesn’t stick. Baste, baste and baste. Don’t overcook. Three pound bird will take forty minutes.
What is your go-to recipe when cooking for family and friends?
Depends on my mood, the season and the place. But chicken does turn up often.
What is your favorite spot to have brunch?
I kinda hate brunch. I am a lunch dude. Eggs don’t thrill me.
What are your favorite spots in New York for great Italian food?
There are so many, too hard to be specific. But I do love the court yard at Locanda Verde. The sidewalk at Bar Pitti is fun. I do adore Babbo and Del Posto. All the Frankie’s are fun. Franny’s for Pizza, Marea for seafood Italian style, Il Buco Alimentari is just good, etc.
What are your favorite cities for food, what spots do you go to there?
London, San Francisco, Paris, Mexico City, Chicago, LA, Philadelphia, and Miami.
London: River Café, Wolseley, Hix, J Sheekey
San Franciso: Zuni Café, Chez Panisse, Pizzaiolo, Slanted Door, Nopa, Marlowe, Gary Danko
Paris: Willi’s, Fish La Boissonnerie, Le Dome Café, Pierre Gagnaire, Apicius
Mexico City: Street food
Chicago: Blackbird, Avec, Publican, Spiaggia, Purple Pig
Los Angeles: Mozza, Gjelina, Spago
Philadelphia: Vetri, Osteria, El Vez, Village Whiskey
Miami: Michael’s Genuine, Joe’s Stone Crab, Hakkasan