|Where stealth chef Christian Delouvrier works his magic.|
He cooked at a La Goulue in Bal Harbor, Brasserie Ruhlmann in Chicago, and briefly at David Bouley’s Secession. Then suddenly the celebrity chef manqué appeared in the kitchen at La Mangeoire, a 30-year-old Provençal bistro on Second Avenue at 53rd Street.
I happened to talk to Delouvrier recently while reporting a story, and asked how he ended up here, amid cheerful sunflower- and orange-colored bric-a-brac, in a corner of Manhattan far from the power corridors of his previous kitchens. His cooking happens to retain all of its fantastic-ness, by the way, but coming across it here is little like stumbling upon a Caravaggio at the Greenwich Avenue Street Fair.
“That’s a good question,” the gentlemanly chef responded, “and I’m going to tell you what really attracted me here. “In 2008 I was in Bal Harbor, and I decided to come back to New York. One day somebody called me up, he said he needed a consultant. I went there, we talked, and I really got very excited about this. It was the challenge of “taking a restaurant that had been run differently,” and making it his own that drew him. “The challenge is still there,” he said, “We are not yet where we want to be.”
Also alluring was the fact that La Mangeoire was off the radar of blood-sniffing critics. “After being in a four-star restaurant,” the chef explained, “it is very, very soothing to be able to work and do whatever I want, and to bring a restaurant up to the level I would like to see. It’s a work in progress, and I really enjoy that.”
La Mangeoire owner Gérard Donato deserves Salesman of the Decade award for landing this talented chef; we’re looking forward to seeing what the duo creates in the coming months and years.