clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Laurent Gras on His New E-Cookbook and Media Errors

New, 5 comments

Continuing Eater Lounge coverage from the Cayman Cookout in Grand Cayman. Right now: chef Laurent Gras who, contrary to recent reports, claims to have not yet settled on a space for his forthcoming New York City restaurant.


How has it been going?
The goal for me was to come here and just use local ingredients. First, to use them, but also to promote them. Because I worked in San Francisco, I have experience being in contact with Hawaii a lot, so wahoo and all those tropical fish, but not at this level of freshness.

They have to remove them from the bones because they can't ship them whole, so they are filleted. I've really never had them this fresh before. With conch, I've had them smaller, farmed, but these are larger. They're very tender.

What was the caviar you served at lunch today with the conch?
Italian ossetra. So the ceviche was in the Peruvian style with some caviar and fresh coconut — whole cocnut. We peel them and then juice the white flesh, and then include small pieces of coconut in the center. It's interesting to work with local ingredients.

How did you get involved in the cookout?
Eric Ripert.

Yes, but how do you know him?
The first day I arrived in the states, in 1997. I met him in Paris when I was working at Ducasse and then he said, "When you come to the States, give me a call. He was very, very helpful in the beginning. And then we became friends. We've known each other for a very long time.

You both have that emphasis on seafood. How are your approaches different, similar?
Not too different. We love Caribbean preparations and Japanese preparations. We both learned French cuisines. We both come from Antibes, so there's a lot of similarity. I don't know what the difference is. [laughs]

Gael Greene recently wrote that you'd be opening up a 14-seat restaurant in New York? Is that true, and what's going on with the project in general?
Yeah, I never talked to Gael Greene, I don't know where she got that information. I never spoke with her. I don't know her. I'm not saying I'm not looking to go back to work. I'm still looking at spaces, talking to financial people. But I don't have a space. Sometimes people want to say something just to say something. But I never spoke to her, we have no relationship. She's not the person I would call to tell if I had this news.

Is there anything new? Any more guest chef events?
No. I'm active, but nothing new. I'm doing a book, so I didn't want to do too many things. I'm doing an ebook start on the iPad.

Can you talk more about that?
I was very intrerested in doing an iPad book, and doing it a step further than my blog in Chicago. I want it to be an evolution of the blog. An ebook would be in that type of direction. It took me a little bit of time to get things organized. I'm doing this with a company for which this is their first ebook project — Jesta Digital.

Is it interactive?
I'm pushing for more interaction, but we're not sure yet. We'll see.

When will that be out?
Hopefully before June, but you know how certain things can happen. I'm done writing the recipes, the introductions, and the editor has it. It was a lot of writing for me.

Is there a particular focus to the recipes?
Yeah, the food i grew up with around Nice, and then working in the south of France with Alain Ducasse and Jacques Maximin. So it takes the fundamentals of Provençal cuisine and then tranlsates into fine dining. So we'll do a rataouille from my mom and then the version of it we would do with Jacques Maximin at Hotel Negresco — the same dish with two different approaches.

It's also some of what I cook now at home, and I relate it to what I used to use in France. It's very interesting, since the same product can be very different from place to place. Carrots in France, Carrots in New York, it's not necessarily the same thing.

But no more pop-ups. I'm going to Portugal for one more dinner next week and then, that's it.

· All Laurent Gras Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Cayman 2012 Interviews [-E-]

Sign up for the Sign up for the Eater newsletter

The freshest news from the food world every day