American chef takes lessons from European markets
NEW YORK, June 8 — American chef Todd English has opened his interpretation of the European food halls at the historic Plaza Hotel in New York, with an array of offerings from sushi to panini.
The 49-year-old chef, who cites London’s luxury department store Harrods as inspiration, said The Plaza Food Hall allows diners buy fresh, locally grown fruits, vegetables and seafood and to taste dishes made with them.
English spoke to Reuters about his love for foreign markets and where he camps out at a restaurant.
Q: Why were you interested in this project?
A: “When I travel, I love going to markets especially in Europe, South America and Asia. You get a sense of what the country is about, what the community is about. Most of the food stalls are where workers eat, where farmers eat. It indicates what’s local, what’s fresh and the food of that community so you get a sense what that culture is about.”
Q: You are regarded a fine-dining chef. Would people see this as a change in direction for you?
A: “Just because you sit at a counter, it doesn’t mean you can’t eat gourmet food and really fresh and well prepared dishes. With where the economy is it offers people many options within a space. It’s just a fun way to eat. When I go to check out restaurants in the city, I like sitting at the bar.”
Q: Are there special considerations in creating the Food Hall in a landmark hotel?
A: “I want it to be somewhat fashionable or chic, what I think the hotel reflects and what a lot of markets in Europe suggest. The elegance of the hotel is certainly reflected in the Food Hall. I want to have a certain boutique feel to it, but I also want to keep the prices reasonable.”
Q: You think this type of restaurant will become popular here?
A: “I think this is a trend that will stay. I think market-style eating will become part of our lives like it is in Europe. You may not necessarily just see it just in hotels, you may see it in department stores, maybe food courts will change more to this kind of thing.” — Reuters