Chef News

Chuck Wiley Dishes on the Two Local Chefs He Most Admires, His Three Favorite Local Dishes and His Sensual Last Meal

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If our cooking and eating habits explain our culture, what do our cooking/eating habits say about us now?: Look at the local farmers markets and Whole Foods. They're packed! Sure, there are still plenty of processed junk and marginal restaurants out there, but people care more than ever about what they're eating and how that food makes them feel . . . finally! I love it!

Has your cooking changed over the years? If so, how?: I've become more in tune with ingredients and how they interact. I don't force things anymore or fuss over them. Recalling perfect flavor and texture marriages; I've worked my whole life to get here.

Name a giant in the American food scene and explain why you admire this person: Danny Meyers. He understands the meaning and the power of true hospitality. Gramercy Tavern to me is the epitome of a great restaurant experience in every way.

Name a culinary mentor and explain what you learned from that person: Bill Nassikas. He taught me more about food than any chef ever has. He taught me about leadership, about the importance of relationships, about attention to detail. He sets an example that is impossible to achieve although I never stop trying. He reeled me in during my younger years when my food got goofy.

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Nikki Buchanan