YONKERS, N.Y. -- There may be one question that I am asked nearly every day by guests, friends and family, and that is: What is your favorite restaurant or who is your favorite chef?
These days there are so many great restaurants and chefs out there that it is too hard to pick just one. However, if you asked me who is the chef I have the greatest respect for as a culinary visionary and operator, the answer would be Jean-Georges Vongeriecten.
I've known JGV since 1990 when he first arrived in New York to be the chef at Lafayette at the Drake hotel where he received four stars from the New York Times for his extraordinary cuisine. His inventive style ignited the culinary and foodie movement that continues across the country today.
When I launched Impromptu Gourmet in early 2000 it was JGV and his vision that helped establish the brand as a culinary innovator.
All of Jean-Georges’s restaurants are brilliantly conceived and executed. No matter where I go, I'm always drawn to establishments that bear his name. I have visited his restaurants in Miami, Las Vegas, Chicago, Paris, St Bart’s, Bahamas and, of course, Manhattan.
In New York we love Mercer Kitchen, JOJO, ABC, The Mark, Nougatine and his eponymous establishment, the four-star Jean-Georges at Columbus Circle.
His most recent opening has been in our own backyard with The Inn at Pound Ridge.
The renovation of this Westchester classic is gorgeous, allowing the beauty of the country setting to play off the sophistication of the appointments. The working fireplaces and accents of zinc and stone create a setting that is elegant yet casual enough to visit for a glass of rosé and a truly original truffle pizza.
I look forward to many more great meals at restaurants run by the incomparable Jean-Georges Vongeriecten perhaps in China, Tokyo or Dubai or maybe just a few miles up Interstate 684 in Westchester to Pound Ridge.
This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursda y.
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