chef Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern, Gramercy, Manhattan, Local ingredients, Union Square Farmers Market, Sustainable, Seasonal, Danny Meyer, Restaurateur, Chef’s Recommendations, Chef Q & A, Question and Answer, Interview, Where the chef’s eat, Chef Tips, Where to eat in New York, BBQ, Food Cravings, Restaurant Recommendations, Kitchen Tips


In September of 2006, Michael Anthony became the executive chef of Gramercy Tavern in New York City. World renowned for their American cuisine, chef Anthony actually received much of his training abroad, working at Bistro Shima, a small French bistro in Tokyo, Jacques Cagna, L’Arpege, and L’Astrance in Paris. When he returned to New York, he worked in the kitchen at Daniel and as chef de cuisine at chef Wayne Nish’s March.

Chef Anthony’s “farm to table” experience came from collaborating with chef Dan Barber as co-executive chef at Blue Hill and executive chef at Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

Q. Your cuisine has been influenced by your background working in kitchens in Japan and France - which other cuisines would you like to experience working with?

A. We sacrifice a lot in the business to maintain high quality restaurants, but traveling is the greatest benefit of being a chef. I would love to investigate further cooking styles from Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, Peru, Chile and Argentina, as well as American regional cooking of the South, Southwest, and especially the West Coast.

Q. We interviewed Chef Joseph Ogrodnek of Anella and he noted that you were someone in the field who deserves more praise, specifically for your style of teaching and managing. Who else in the industry do you think deserves more praise and why?

A. Brian Bistrong at Braeburn has an amazing talent and tenacity in the kitchen that frequently flies below most people’s radar.

Gavin Kaysen at Café Boulud has already made an amazing impact on our industry while having established himself as a chef who will be around for years to come.

John Fraser, chef/owner of Dovetail, creates his menu and runs his restaurant in one of the most thoughtful styles I’ve ever seen.

Q. You use a lot of fresh vegetables in your cooking, which components influence the flavors of produce and what are some tips for selecting the best?

A. Walking down the street to the nearest greenmarket is the best advice I can give anyone. By shopping at the greenmarket, you are only tempted to buy what is in season while having the opportunity to ask the farmers themselves the methods by which they raise their food. They are the most passionate and knowledgeable people when it comes to fresh produce.

Additional tips: use some basics like sea salt and olive oil to enhance flavors without hiding them.

Q. Do you shop at Union Square Market for cooking at home as well as the restaurant?

A. Yes, absolutely. The Union Square Market is New York City’s most precious resource when it comes to cooking.

Q.What’s your favorite simple, easy farmers market based meal to cook at home?

A. Some easy recipes I make at home include roasted carrots with honey, pole beans and polenta, bacon and tomato sandwiches, and flounder with marinated cucumbers all enhanced by the fresh produce from Union Square Market.

Q. Any vegetables that you’re not a fan of?

A. Overcooked English peas.

Q. The art of pickling seems to be returning again - we’ve interviewed artisanal pickle makers the McClure Brothers and Rick Field of Rick’s Picks. The McClure’s aren’t fans of pickling asparagus because it goes soft too quickly, and Rick just doesn’t like pickled eggs. What are some of your pickling highs and lows?

A. Pickling Swiss chard stems allows us to find a great use for an otherwise unused part of the plant. We make a classic pickling liquid with beets, rice wine vinegar, sugar, salt, coriander and star anise, which allows this part of the plant to really shine with a chilled flavor and crunchy texture once it’s pickled. I also love the earthy results we’ve gotten by using the Japanese technique of nuka pot pickling; a product which results from a fermentation of toasted rice bran, salt and vegetables like sunchokes or daikon radish.

Q. Is there a cookbook, new or vintage that is like a bible to you and why?

A. Paul Bertolli, Cooking by Hand, The Zuni Café Cookbook and Alain Ducasse’s Grand Livre de Cuisine are foundational cookbooks which have inspired many of my own creations in the kitchen.

[See details.]

Q. Is there a recipe we can get you to share?

A. Recipe for Calamari and Carrot Salad.

Q. Any other exciting projects in your future?

A. We are currently redesigning the Tavern grill station, making it more functional and beautiful than ever. It’s an ever evolving love affair between a kitchen and its chefs, while the process of redesigning a kitchen is like going back to junior high school; you fall in and out of love from one week to the next.

Q. What food purveyors inspire your creativity, which products, and why?

A. Norwich Meadows Farm produces the most complex and satiating food that I know. Because they take such care in tending to their soil, everything they grow is exploding with rich flavor.

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Q. Are there food markets around the world you love and what should we look for at them?

A. In Paris, the Marche d’Aligre is a neighborhood favorite. On the East side of Paris, at subway stop Ledru Rollin, it offers a great variety, cheap prices with a fantastic Moroccan influence.

There is also an excellent wine bar just around the corner called Le Baron Rouge. 

Tsukiji Market in Tokyo and Nishiki Market in Kyoto, represent two of the greatest traditions in the world, with not only an amazing variety of fish, but exceptional vegetables and even kitchen equipment.

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Q. Having lived Japan, if you were to go back where would you want to eat and what would you order?

A. It’s hard to answer this question because what is amazing about Japan is the wide variety of delicious foods and the amazing way that Japanese cooks respect these traditions, but when I do go back to Japan I dream of eating barbeque eel.  This common dish, when done well, represents some of the most seductive, soft flavors the cuisine has to offer.

Q. How about in Paris, where you also live and worked: what are your favorite insider restaurants, cafes and bars you love and what would you recommend we order?

A. Brand new favorite: Frenchie. This restaurant brings soulful, creative cooking back to Paris.

Longtime favorite: L’Astrance. Chef Pascal Barbot cooks in a very personal way with curiosity and confidence that you can taste in every dish.

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Q. Where do you eat when you go to your hometown and what do you order?

A. I don’t get home to Cincinnati very often, but where I most want to go is a new restaurant called Jean-Robert’s Table, which is just opening, this August.

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Q. Most of the chefs in town pick Gramercy Tavern as their favorite recommendation. So, we’d like to pass along your recommendations for restaurants in New York City that you love, as well as what you would order at them:

A. Serves killer food: Sushi Seki.

Won’t break the bank: Ippudo - ramen at its best

For authentic Japanese food: Yasuda.

For great French food: Daniel.

For real-deal Italian food: Maialino.

For late night: Pulino’s.

Off the beaten track: Commerce. Chef/owner Harold Moore and Sous Chef Snir Sela form an incredible team, making delicious food night after night.

[See details.]

Q. Anywhere else in the world (casual or fancy) that serves food you crave and what is that food?

A. My late night cravings lead me straight to Sake Bar Hagi or Yakitori Totto.

Daisy May’s BBQ is my other craving spot. It’s straightforward, delicious barbeque that when paired with a great beer there’s nothing better.

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Chef Donald Link, Sommelier Joe Campanale, Chef Joe Ogrodnek, Cheesemonger Amy Thompson, Bee Raw Honey, Salatore Bklyn


Chef Michael Anthony’s recommendations on where to eat and shop in New York, Cincinnati, Paris.





42 East 20th Street

New York, NY 10003 (view map)

T: 212.477.0777 (make a reservation)



Mon - Fri: 12pm - 2pm

Sun - Thu: 5:30pm - 10pm

Fri - Sat: 5:30pm - 11pm


Chef Michael Anthony’s recommendations on where to eat and shop in New York, Cincinnati, Paris.


Photograph by Ellen Silverman