tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg September 3, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
♪ >> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: ken friedman was a successful music executive with no experience in the food world , and then he decided to open a restaurant. after jamie oliver introduced him to april bloomfield, he knew he had found his partner. together, they opened the spotted pig in 2004. it was an immediate hit and it continues to maintain its immense popularity more than a decade later. the new yorkers called it "a place where normal people go to feel like celebrities and celebrities go to feel like normal people. here's a look behind the scenes.
>> i spent my whole life in clubs, as a musician. you are standing up in a club and you are looking at the band or looking at the dj or looking at the hot girls. restaurants are kind of like clubs for grown-ups. you still get to mingle with people and meet new people, but you eat instead of take drugs. it is my midlife crisis restaurant. it is made for people like me. people who don't dress up. i am wearing a jacket right now and it is a big deal. it is for you, charlie. but when i finally decided that i wanted to quit the music business and devote my energy and the remaining bit of money that i had to opening the spotted pig, i needed a great chef. april: i got a call from him
-- hey, do you want to do a gastro pub in new york? and i was like -- i don't know new york at all. i don't have any idea who you are. but listen, i am ready to try something new. whenever you get a slice of artichoke, it is so wonderful. ken: she just really believes and respects the ingredients. she believes if you have three or four on the plate, make each one the best possible. the way i could get home and the way i cook in the hamptons, it's like i have learned from her. buy the best ingredients. that is the secret. april: slightly bitter. the other thing is, i think it is just a casual setting. we have an amazing place with great energy. people can eat delicious food in a casual, relaxed environment. ken: like most of us, april gets obsessed with things. right now, she is obsessed with chickens. april: i am, yes, i am slightly
obsessed with chickens. ken: first it was pigs. april: i like being able to feed off of each other. not just ken, staff also. ken: she is a great partner. i have done a couple of things without her, and i realize i do not want to do anything without her. she is a better partner to have. i am more proud of what we are doing when she is the one making the food. charlie: here is a guy that decides he wants to open a restaurant. therefore, he knows mario batali. they talk about it because he -- mary knows something about restaurants and then, the idea of you came from whom? wasn't mary a macro -- was it miriam? ken: i think i asked jamie oliver. there was your friend peter and peter did not want to do it and
then -- >> peter asked me and then it went back to jamie. then jamie gave my number to ken. and they took you around to eat at a lot of different places, and about halfway through the tour you were sold. ken: i was sold before. we started e-mailing back and forth. neither of us knew how to e-mail. we could not figure it out. i'm sorry i pushed send before i should have. i deleted the last e-mail. we were bumbling idiots. april: did you receive it? no, i didn't. ken: we were already kindred spirits. it's like when she and i would go driving together, we both have the worst sense of direction in the world. i was already sold before we -- before we met. charlie: how do you divide responsibilities at the restaurant? april: i am usually kitchen and back of house, but i have a lot to do with plateware and things. we bounce ideas off of each other.
charlie: you are the person who is there out front, knowing and making sure that everything is ok. ken: yes. that and sometimes a lot less and sometimes a lot more. charlie: and doing the planning ahead. how to make spotted pig better. ken: it is super important to have a partner like april that kind of doesn't forget that it is not about the next project , but the last project. it is about making sure that the plate for each person that comes to our restaurant is perfect. i sometimes suffer from getting bored with the things we have now and wanting to do the next thing. it is super important to be focused on what we committed to. charlie: so you keep him sort of grounded. april: that is the best thing about our relationship. if ken had his way, he would be opening 20 restaurants a year. charlie: what about 30? april: probably 100. we ground each other. that's the nice thing. i think we know our limits and we play with that.
charlie: you probably have a lot of ideas about how to cook and you probably send them right to her, don't you? ken: never. never, ever. the thing is -- april: apparently, he cooks the best chicken liver but i have never eaten it. and the lobster tacos i have heard are amazing. but i have never eaten them. did she give you a memo or an e-mail saying, what about this? april: no. it was for kosher hotdogs and tofu burgers and i said you had the wrong person. no, this is not going to happen. ken: she said i am not the right person for you if what you want is tofu dogs. i was trying to lose some weight and be healthy. you don't go to a real chef and and say, can you come up with a tofu dog? i have learned not to do that. charlie: what is a gastropub? april: it is a pub that chefs took over in the early 1990's
because they did not have a lot of money. they took over the pubs and put in a great chef. they created these exciting and warm environments to go hang out with your friends every night. ken was slightly obsessed with those and wanted to create this place where he could bring his friends. charlie: has the menu changed a lot? april: not really. we still have the burger on there. it changes seasonally. we buy everything from the market. that really dictates what we put on the menu. ken: the market means the union square farmers' market. not the stock market. charlie: did you want to call it the prodigal pig? ken: the prodigal pig, yeah. charlie: how did that go over? ken: most of my friends did not know what the word prodigal meant. they went to dictionary.com to look it up. it didn't really -- basically, spotted pig is such a visual name, and when i told april, for one, you liked it. and mario, who was and is my friend, helper, and he loved it.
yeah, we won the spotted pig and it has worked. the spotted pig and it has worked. charlie: you went from pigs to chickens. and to vegetables. your book is called -- a girl and her greens: hearty meals from the garden. april: i love vegetables. charlie: is that i do a fair? april: no, a very long affair fulton -- a very long affair. i grew up eating vegetables. i really fell in love with vegetables at the river cafe. you have to go to the pig to know that i do have this love affair, not just with pigs, but also with vegetables. i wanted to create this book to show that other side of me. charlie: you worked at the river cafe in london when they found you. you and read the -- ricky -- ruthie were a powerful combination even then. april: i had a great time. i was writing menus and running shifts. i was in my element. but i wanted a different life experience and i wanted to eat different food and meet
different people, and so ken offered me this opportunity, and i think ken was in his midlife crisis, and we held hands and jumped together. we created this amazing thing. charlie: your midlife crisis? at age 40 i was in the music business and i did not come home from work and want to play music anymore. i was kind of bored. i was the guy who always threw parties and cooked chicken liver, and people told me i should open a restaurant. people always do that, i think, yeah right, but i thought -- why don't i try it? i didn't want to be that guy that looked back on his life and realized that i didn't do something i wanted to do. i thought, how bad could it be? i didn't have kids or a wife or a mortgage. i could live for a couple of years on the money i saved, although i did spend it all when we went over budget, of course. charlie: you have a lot of friends in the music business. and they are part of the
clientele, whether it is jay-z or bono or other people. your associations and friendships are deep in the music business. 10: yeah, and i didn't know i would find someone as great as april, but i wanted a chef to be involved and be all about the food. i didn't want to be a hip place, and then everyone goes on to the next hip place. i sort of knew -- charlie: the way you ensure that doesn't happen is to have a damn good chef in the kitchen. ken: ultimately, when you go out to dinner, you say i feel like a great chinese dinner tonight, or a great burger. you don't really go, i want to go and see if i can see any celebrities. you might do that once or twice, but if people are going to come back again and again, it is for getting great food, cocktails, and wine. charlie: in the beginning, this was a partnership where you had 10%. april: yes. charlie: did he walk in one day and say he wanted to give you
50%? we are partners and you're indispensable to me. did it happen because you said, i want 50%? april: no, i didn't say i was walking out. i asked for what i felt i deserved. i approached ken to be equal partners at the spotted pig and any projects moving forward. i think you have to value your work. you have to value yourself. ken appreciates what we do and he said, no problem. charlie: it was a no-brainer? ken: it was a simple negotiation. she said, look, i think we are equal partners and i said yes we are. some lawyers have put together some paperwork and stuff, but it was pretty simple. charlie: expansion. you started john dory at one on 11th avenue. that did not last. how long? one-year? ken: eight months. charlie: how can the two of you being so smart, screw this up? april: we made a bad judgment. every business person can make a bad judgment and we should have listened to our instincts.
charlie: instincts that said maybe not? april: i think, my instincts -- that was my biggest learning curve with the first john dory. i didn't really speak up. i think i was too much in the background. i didn't like the the area and i have to take full responsibility for that. now, i do speak up. that was my learning curve through that failure. charlie: it is also important if you realize you're in a mistake to get out just as fast as you can. april: we did. we cut our losses. we knew the concept would work, british seafood. fish restaurant. we finally got a space on the corner of 29th and broadway and decided to move it there. charlie: and then the breslin came along. was that before? april: that was before. ken: that was right after we closed the first john dory. then we made a deal with the ace hotel.
he said that he was coming to new york and opening a hotel. a 300 room hotel at the corner of the 29th and broadway. and we thought -- broadway? really echo he said, come and take a look. we looked up and saw amazing buildings there. we had never done anything. we had had one big success, one restaurant that had just closed and we were still licking our wounds from that. he says, i want you to do 24 hour room service, a lobby, and a huge gastropub. so we did it and it has been amazing for us. charlie: and then you put john dory in next-door. ken: luckily, it was seamless. we closed one john dory and then there was a corner lease available and thank god, it worked out. we still believed in the idea of a british seafood place. people in america think that british seafood is fish and chips. they don't know there is a whole
tradition of great british seafood. we made it the john dory oyster bar. all the seats are barstools. april: we made it more casual. it is a great people watching space. right there on the corner. it is quite perfect. charlie: and then the salvation taco. self -- april: salvation taco, yeah. that was a detour, but it was a project that ken kind of made a deal with, and i was ready for a change. who doesn't like tacos? and then there is tosca in san francisco. how did that happen? ken: i went to college in berkeley. tosca was always a place i could not get into the back room of. it was a legendary place. charlie: it had a pool table in the back. can: yeah, and it had all kinds of stuff going on in the back room. charlie: it seems like ambience and the feeling of the physical property -- you can't make a restaurant with bad food, and the other hand, if you have good
food, it can enhance the restaurant. april: it can turn something good into something great. charlie: is there a trend in the restaurant business today -- i danny meier about fine dining, casual. that was a phrase that he used. is that a phrase that makes sense? april: i think so, yeah. charlie: give us a sense of how you see the restaurant world is. april: right now, people want a relaxed environment. i don't think they want all of the frills. but they want the attention of detail. they want that kind of refined food on the plate and refund glasses, but not 12 glasses or 10 sets of cutlery. or someone standing there being very stiff. they want that kind of pared down and just refined and casual. charlie: are you growing as a chef? april: yes, all the time. charlie: how are you growing?
i grow just by watching my chefs interact, watching what they are coming up with and what they have their finger on the pulse of. by going out to eat, traveling, just doing events with other chefs. doing events with people like danielle harman. just seeing different stuff and being open. charlie: is it still exciting to you to fire up the stove? doing something that comes out mind, heart, and hands? april: oh, of course. it is the smell, the sight, the touch. all those things combined. i love cooking. the day i don't like cooking is the day i am going to stop. ken: whoa, stop? can i get a little notice here? april: exactly. i have been doing this a long time. i have been cooking since i was 16. i never get bored.
i am not one of those people. charlie: but it's all in the kitchen. april: yeah, but i still have as much passion and fire as i did when i was 16. i love the fact that i still have that, and i hope it kind of comes through with the people that i work with. charlie: what is your ambition? ken: to keep excited. keep on doing projects that are exciting and interesting and new. not just re-create stuff. to do new things. ♪
charlie: massimo bottura is one of italy's most talked about chefs. one of his restaurants is ranked third in the world. he fuses italian recipes with modern cuisine. he is here with a new book, guess what the title is? "never trust a skinny italian chef." here is a look. [video clip] massimo: i am born, and i grew up in the land of fast cars and slow food. i learned since i was a kid to think very quick, as the roman
would say, think quick, do it, very quick, but slowly. have a very quick thought, but do it slowly. you need a lot of time to do something. they interpreted what i am thinking. they know what i am thinking. here we go. oops, we dropped a lemon tart. charlie: that was a nice promotion for the book. but why the title? because you're skinny? massimo: the title came up from a trip in los angeles. 2001. we went to this -- some friends invited us to a dinner, so we walked into the kitchen and there was a big display -- never trust a skinny italian chef.
everyone laughed. i was looking at myself. why do they have to trust me? i am a skinny italian chef. i was like, i am going to do my best to have everyone trust me. it is the ironic way to stay always grounded. irony is very important. laughing yourself and not take yourself very seriously. we are cooks. charlie: why did you decide to write a book? massimo: why? because my colleagues, the people i respect the most, they were pushing me. come on. sign the contract. you have to put in black and white your ideas. when you talk at the conferences, people are listening to you. you influence people. and so, at one point, i said ok , i'm going to write my wife, we
the book. and then, step-by-step my wife, we, my wife, we were trying to put down ideas. one after another. in the book, there is the story of my 28 years of career. charlie: you pay tribute to a french chef, alain ducasse, a spanish chef, and an italian mother. your mother. massimo: i know. in a small glass like this, i compress all of my gastronomic life. it's like i did's ambience. that is the most popular plates you can have. pasta with bean sauce. my mom was always telling me about putting parmigiano reggano crust into the beans when you make pasta and beans because it is so good, it is so mommy, i say. what i did is i compressed this gastronomic life into a glass. at the bottom, you have creme
royale. you know how the french are. that use royale -- cheeseburger, royale with cheese. just like beans, and some foie gras. and you have these layers of things that remind you. all this the flavor that come from the past and the memories. and the country. and then you arrive at one point, i finished the glass, with the air of rosemary. here at the bottom, there is ducasse, and then the air of rosemary, something that disappear in one second because rosemary is very invadent on the plate. but in the middle, instead apostate, what i compress -- of pasta? what i compress? i put the crust like my mom
always told me. sliced very thin. between faran and ducasse i compressed my mother. charlie: is she responsible for you becoming a chef? massimo: she is. she is the one who always pushed me to do things and follow my passion. to not to listen to anyone and to trust myself. charlie: i assume there is an easy answer, but why not rome? why modena? it is not about the place you are, it is about who you are. it is about what you express. i felt so comfortable in modena, the capital of slow food and fast cars. it is a place where maserati, rarri, lamborghini are built. if people from all over the world come to meet mr. ferreri. or to buy a maserati, why don't
they come if i have the right idea to eat at my restaurant. we decided to be there. and to open there. it was cheap. we had enough for what we had to do. it is the land of parmigiano and balsamic vinegar. i always say, in my veins, there is balsamic vinegar. but the muscles are like parmigiano. and then i drink too much lambrusco. my brain is like -- charlie: what was that expression? massimo: make simple the difficult things. charlie: that's your life story. massimo: yeah. even the plate -- how to burn a sardine in three days. it is a very complicated expression, how to create the perfect sardine. jokes.w, play
it is the most simple thing, one sardine. and that sardine tastes like heaven. it makes simple -- i don't care about showing how great we are. this is contemporary cuisine. contemporary cuisine is no more about fireworks or magician playing to show that we can take off some rabbit from the hat. it is about attic. put the attic close to the static. that is why -- i am so close with my artisans and farmers, my my fishermen.and they deliver. they deliver fantastic ingredients to my restaurant that i use to transfer emotion. charlie: transfer of emotion. massimo: i think the book is about that.
parmigiano crust is emotion. you go back to your childhood. i see people cry eating the -- crying while eating the potato with the truffle. it is a slice of potato inside the potato -- it is so emotional. people like, really get -- charlie: at one point -- at what point did you go work with faran. massimo: it was 2000. charlie: how did you get a job? massimo: he came to my restaurant. he had a meal and called me to the table and asked me to come. i said -- when? next season?
i said, yes. charlie: why did you say that? massimo: because i was attracted in the beginning to understand his new techniques that were coming out. that was 2000. it was not like now. was really into crazy, new techniques where they were changing the perspective, but actually, when i arrived there, i realized that it was not about technique. it was about freedom. freedom of expressing yourself. in that moment, i understood that a great chef can express yourself with a potato or a parmigiano crust. not just with caviar, lobster, or truffles. today i was at the culinary institute of america to give a speech to the young cooks.
i said, guys, remember one thing. you always -- to be a great chef, you always have to be three ingredients in your backpack. you have to travel, you have to be contaminated in a wise way and not a wild way, you never want to forget about where you come from. but, you have to have three ingredients. humility, passion, and dream. humility keeps you grounded. you keep learning. if you are 25, 35, 55, you keep learning and evolving. passion. this is a very hard job. it is not about being a rockstar. it is about doing hard work every day. and a little bit of talent. that's the point. passion, when the other people are enjoying, your friends are enjoying, you are there, and working. every day.
and dreams. the most important thing. if you can dream it, you can make it. charlie: take a look at these dishes and we will move on to some final things. the first thing is -- take a look. these are images from the book. the memory of a bologna sandwich. massimo: very easy. we came back and the first thing the gastronomic critics wondered was what i would do. would i make a phone? that's a great idea. bologna phone -- will be great. foam will be great. i went so deep into those memories of when my mom was making me the bologna sandwich in my backpack, going to school, saying i have to eat.
that is a tribute to my mom. charlie: take a look. the second image is -- oops, i dropped the lemon tart. we saw the video of this. there it is. massimo: this is one of the most important plates, and the story was fantastic. that night, we were ready to serve. me and my pastry chef, a japanese, the most incredible technique -- fantastic. he was like, at that point, we were ready to serve. he dropped one of the two lemon tarts on the counter and half on the plate. he was ready to kill himself. the japanese was missing something. i said, don't kill yourself. it is so beautiful. look at that. you catch the moment. that is poetry in everyday life.
that means, if you keep that space open for poetry from all of the obligations you have -- you go there and to the bank and the accountant, you have that space, you can imagine a beautiful broken lemon tart. we rebuilt two tarts in a perfect way. iconcame an internationally. charlie: the number three is five ages of parmesan. massimo: maybe this is the most important dish i created. it became the dish of the decade of italian gastronomy from 2001 to 2011. that is the way to express my territory. i started reflecting about that and about texture. then ducasse came.
after, i met panini, this incredible, visionary man. he is a cheese maker. he said to me, after the meal, i have to tell you something. the plate was great, but start thinking about the aging process more than the texture. that means be more respectful for the process of the ingredients than to show how great you are on technique. from that moment, i started exploring the aging process and doing my own experiments and bringing the cheese on a different level. the slowly passing of the timing on the aging process. 24, 30, 36, 40, 50 -- the time is passing. that is the fall, the awesome, the winter, the summer. charlie: the next thing is the crunchy part of the lasagna.
massimo: this is another emotional dish. this is the corner, the experience of the corner of the lasagna. when your grandmother arrived, -- arrives, and brings the big can of lasagna, you have experienced, like every other kid, that corner, a little burnt, everyone knows it is the best part of the lasagna. charlie: let me talk about art, too. art has a place in the kitchen. arch is a place in the restaurant. -- arts has a place in the restaurant. -- art has a place in the restaurant. art has a place in the soul. massimo: art is the highest way to communicate -- it is the highest point of the thought, of the human thought. art makes visible the invisible.
art became for us, our landscape of ideas. my wife introduced me to that, to contemporary art. together, we are living every day in our surroundings. we are surrounded by art and thought. from a sculpture of a glass of to the power of a .000-year-old base -- vase if i were to drop it on the floor, i will say i am not defeating my past. i am rebuilding my past and with a temporary mind -- that is my cuisine. i look at the past in a critical way and not a nostalgic way. pastng the best from the into the future. this is exactly what it is, my cuisine. charlie: it is great to have you here. fabulous. the book is called -- "never trust a skinny, italian chef."
charlie: corey lee is here. he is a james beard award-winning chef and owner of benu in san francisco. david chang has called it the best restaurant in america. it gives its name to the chef's first cookbook. in it, he presents the menu, which reveals principles behind his cuisine. here is a look. [video clip] corey: people ask me what sort of restaurant benu is. my first answer is it is an american restaurant. it is open to the influence of all different kinds of cultures. the book is about a menu at benu. and hopefully, it can convey the experience of dining at benu. food is identity. it is the most revealing thing about you, about a culture, where you come from, how you live, what is important to you. they go hand in hand.
it is really about finding yourself and your work and understanding that there is meaning in finding yourself in your work. charlie: i am pleased to have corey lee at this table for the first time. welcome. you are a friend of david chang and you are a friend of mine. david has written remarkable things about you. what influence has he had on you? corey: he has had a big influence on me. he is someone who really struck out on his own in an original way. this was 2004. at the time, i was living three blocks from the original momofuku. he is someone who came from the same background that a lot of us cooks and trying to make it happen in new york city. he just went his own path. he decided to do something he was passionate about and create his own style. he really cooked for people. he broke down all of the
barriers in fine dining. that happened in a very exciting time for restaurants and diners. charlie: the amazing thing about you, and it may be true for a lot of great chefs, is that you have worked with some of the great chefs. you have worked in great restaurants. corey: i was fortunate enough to have amazing teachers and mentors. i have been fortunate where each chef i have worked for invested in me and cared what i was doing next outside of their own kitchen. they would send me to the next restaurant. charlie: describe your cuisine . corey: it is a tough one. i think a big part of the reason i wrote that book was an attempt to explain, not only to an audience or to our staff, but to myself, what we are doing in this restaurant. it is definitely not a cuisine that can be summed up with a couple of boards, although i think a lot of people look for the easy term or genre.
it is a restaurant that is american for me. it is modern in the truest sense. we are trying to create a new experience for people. an experience that can only be had at our restaurant. ultimately, it is an american restaurant specific to san francisco. charlie: what is the korean influence? corey: there is a lot of seasoning that takes its cue from korean cuisine. some of the fermented pepper sauce and soy sauces. we season with those things instead of just salt. it is more about deep flavors than just seasoning. there is also the korean aesthetic. very transparent. i don't think things are --ipulated in a way or what in a way where you can't identify what they are. there is a humbleness in korean cuisine. we borrow from all those things and are influenced by all those things, and inspired by them as
well. charlie: it has been explained that asian flavors, ideas, and aesthetics can harmonize with western ones. corey: it is a harmonization of those different cultures that interests me. a lot of that was spurred by living in northern california and san francisco, where there is a huge asian influence. 35% asian, mostly cantonese chinese. there is an assimilation in san francisco that i think is unique to that city. charlie: david said about you that there are many paths to success and corey's path is perfection. there is no better technician on the planet, pound for pound. he is one of the best chefs on earth. we like to have things like that said about us, but is it true? is and essence of you -- is it and essence of you at the core, this pursuit of perfection. corey: i think it is not so much a pursuit of perfection, it is a
pursuit of feeling like you're doing something you believe in. whether that is perfect -- i am not sure that is the most important thing. i think there are things that we do that i know are not perfect, but i feel good about it and i can commit myself to that. you have to be able to commit yourself to your work. the first step to that is believing in what you're doing. i have been fortunate where i have felt that my entire career. charlie: why this book, now? corey: i finally have something we can document. that is an important first step. you have to want to say something. over the last five years, we have started to carve an identity for ourselves. it is an opportunity to reach a larger audience than we can fit in our restaurant. it is great for the staff. they can see that their work is beyond what they just make everyday.
it is far-reaching and a good morale booster for them. it just felt like the right time to work on a book. charlie: it is structured around a 33 course tasting. corey: it is. but we don't actually serve 33 course tastings. that is too much. you can't keep someone engaged for that long. but, i explained that a little bit in the book. i don't think anyone looks at this book and want literally a tasting menu. it's on about that. it is seeing the progression of the menu, almost like a meditation of the menu, talking about the dishes and the influences and the ingredients. charlie: this is the love of food that you have. corey: it is the love of food , but also the love of craft. charlie: craft. corey: craft. charlie: so, someone comes to you and says they want to be a chef, and you say the most important thing to have is the love of craft, and they say -- what does that mean? what would you say? corey: that means making
something over and over, repetition, making something with your hands. and that being a rewarding experience. it can't be about owning a restaurant one day, because that might not happen. it cannot be about notoriety , because that is a byproduct of doing something well. you really have to find satisfaction in coming to work every day and doing the same things over and over. slowly, it evolves. there is certainly a creative, artistic aspect to creating -- to cooking at a certain level, but it also comes down to what you make with your hands. charlie: that is a tactile , satisfying feeling. corey: absolutely. there's something about making something that you feel is done well, serving it, and immediately getting that satisfaction. that is the great thing about restaurants. there are moments of success all day long and all night long when you're feeding people. charlie: tell me about your biography. you came from south korea.
corey: yes, i had a transient upbringing. my father was an engineer. he was sent all around the world , and we moved several times growing up. i came here when i was fairly young, but my father was then moved back to south korea because of the company he was working for. and from then on, my family was kind of split up. my mother, and my father stating korea, and i -- stayed in korea, and i stayed in america. that is when i started working in restaurants and eventually traveled abroad working in restaurants. charlie: paris. corey: paris, london, and i came back to new york. charlie: always teaching yourself what? corey: i think it was honing a work ethic that was really the back bone of what i would do later on. i think i had that instilled in me at a fairly early age. it was this idea that you have to put in the work if you are going to get anything out of it.
and pursuing it, not waiting for someone to teach you and pick you up and give you what you need. charlie: you don't wait for it to come to you. corey: i don't think you can. charlie: it goes beyond cooking. it goes to life itself. corey: i agree. absolutely. charlie: how is cuisine different today when you go around the world? corey: well, cuisine has changed a lot in the last decade or so, last generation. chefs have a bigger voice than they did a generation ago. i think diners are looking for restaurants where they can experience something singular. they go to a restaurant because of the chef or because of the style of food that that restaurant is cooking. not just to have some sort of lifestyle experience where they are pampered for a couple of hours, they really want something that is unique. they want to see personality in
the cooking. that is something new. that is something in the last generation. charlie: back to the new vision of excelling. i'm looking at what thomas keller is saying about you -- corey's thoughtfulness reflected his desire to excel at what he was doing. he was that rare, precocious talent who took the long view and was more than willing to pay his dues. corey: by today's standards, in this world where chefs are becoming younger and younger, if you are a chef and you want to open a restaurant, you have more opportunities now than before. certainly, over the years, i had opportunities before i opened the new. i felt i was not ready. at times, i was offered a sous chef position or another management position, and i knew it was time to go on. once you make that transition to being a chef or a chef owner or a sous chef, you cannot go back. charlie: why aren't you in new york? corey: i always thought i would open a restaurant in new york.
actually, when i told thomas i was leaving the french laundry, i came to new york to look for restaurant spaces. one place i looked at, the first place, was this old space in soho. i used to go there when i was a teenager and i loved it and it was a special place for me. but it was actually the day that lehman brothers went under. inwas a very volatile time new york city, and it made me take a step back and question, why am i going to new york? the more i thought about it, it didn't make sense for me. i had been working in california for about 10 years by that time. i had relationships with vendors -- purveyors that knew what i wanted. i had relationships with guests that wanted to come to our restaurant. there are people who wanted to work when we opened. i looked back and i thought if we opened in new york, it would've been a very different restaurant. benu meansnding --
what? corey: it means the phoenix bird in egyptian mythology. the phoenix bird, as you know, stands for long life, regeneration. charlie: the long view. corey: exactly. starting a new restaurant which can be a risky venture, you aspire to have longevity. for those of us who kind of uprooted our lives and moved to san francisco to start this project, the idea of a phoenix bird resonated with us. charlie: what does it mean for san francisco restaurants that you are so close to the tech community, silicon valley? corey: i think it is a very important part of the dining culture in san francisco, not just the dining culture, but the culture of san francisco. it has become an area synonymous with innovation. embracing new things. open-mindedness. the future. it is a hub for this new world. and then there is also the very
pragmatic aspects of it, where we have an industry that can support all of these restaurants , and that is important to note. i think it is an exciting time for san francisco. we are very lucky to be working as chefs there. charlie: here are some images from the book. number one is the thousand-year-old quail egg. there it is. corey: that is the first course on the tasting menu. it is an egg that is preserved through having a high ph. we have a very high ph. we serve it with a classic soup. charlie: number two is the lobster dish. corey: it is basically a liquid centered dumpling. charlie: the beggar's purse is number three. purse ise beggar's
made from acorns, and then it has three things around it. acorns, pigs that feed around acorns, and black truffles that feed on oak trees. it is the synergy surrounding the oak tree. the flavor of pork is such a round flavor that marries well with seafood, vegetables, other kinds of meat and poultry. it is not as intense as beef or gamy like lamb. it is almost like a seasoning for me. charlie: number four is a pork belly. corey: it is a variation and one of the more technical things we do at the restaurant. it is a variation of a traditional korean dish that combines an oyster, kimshi, and pork. what we do is we make it can she hi stock.kimc
charlie: you said your mother was horrified when she realized you were serving it. corey: not horrified, but pleasantly shocked. charlie: pleasantly shocked. and why would she be shocked? corey: i had a hard time with kimchi when i was growing up. it is a very pungent thing. living in a small apartment when it is hot, spelling that very intense, fermented aroma, it is overwhelming. even as a korean who has been around it all of his life, it is a very intense aroma. charlie: number five is a dish on ice. corey: this is a simple dish of ice fish. frozen, then shaved. it is inspired by the idea of a japanese aesthetic. it combines simplicity, beauty, and subtlety. charlie: number six is spring
porridge with sea urchin. corey: this is our california local cooking. we have rice from the sacramento delta. we have minor lettuce, asparagus, see -- sea urchin from santa barbara. things that come into season. charlie: tell me the importance of how food looks. corey: my relationship with food aesthetics has changed over the years. now, for me, it is about trying to present things in their natural form. how do you make something look delicious, but not make it look like there are 20 chefs in the back of the kitchen with tweezers and knives manipulating these things. that is a challenge. it is a challenge, but it is also an important thing to let food present itself. charlie: congratulations. it is great to have you on this program. i look forward to seeing you in san francisco at some point. ♪
continue. remainsiling, inflation the top priority. when, not if, we get lower rates. you can get today's top stories by following me on twitter. creeping out across most asian markets ahead of those payroll numbers. china remains closed today. we ever look morning's action thus far. juliette: it is pretty flat on the regional benchmark index today. it looks like we could have a seventh weekly loss. down by almost 4% we are seeing more selling coming through into korea, and japan's nikkei also in negative territory. some of the