Published October 12, 2012
Few chefs attain the level of success Chef Jesse Schenker has achieved before he was even 30 years old.
After working under Chef Gordon Ramsay, Schenker opened the critically-acclaimed Recette restaurant in New York City’s Greenwich Village at only 27.
But he didn’t do it alone. Schenker recruited his father to be the “ultimate business partner.”
“You look at celeb chefs or successful chefs and they all have a business partner,” Schenker told FoxNews.com. “So I asked my father… and now we’ve just become so close. Our relationship has really evolved.”
And Schenker’s father isn’t the only family member involved. His wife, Lindsay, runs the front of the house while Schenker is busy in the kitchen.
“HR, PR, marketing, reservations, you name it, she does it,” Schenker says. “We work together with my dad. It’s this very close, tight family and it’s done well for us.”
Schenker's love affair with food started at a young age while growing up in Florida. "Growing up I always knew I wanted to be a chef. It came like when I was around age 8 to 12, parents going out on the weekend and I’m just making a mess in the kitchen and there’s cream soda on the ceiling and teriyaki sauce and hot dogs mixed together, and I’m just into it," he said.
After graduating from the Culinary Degree at the Atlantic Technical Center in Coconut Creek, Fla. he became chef de partie at Mark's on Las Olas--Chef Mark Militello's James Beard award-winning restaurant. He then he moved on to become sous chef at Fort Lauderdale's Italian restaurant Rino's Restaurante and later at the upscale wine bar, City Cellar Wine Bar and Grille. It wasn't until he took a position at the two-Michelin-star rated Gordon Ramsay at the London that he hit the international scene.
In 2006, he moved to New York and began wowing eaters with his popular private dining company, also called Recette, which means recipe in French. But it wasn't until 2010 that decided to take that food to the public with his restaurant. Recette, a semifinalist for the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in 2011, is known for its variety of modern, eclectic food on small plates with a strong French influence.
“It’s a chef-driven menu – very food-oriented, seasonal, fresh ingredients,” Schenker says. “Plates tend to be a little smaller because I like people to try a bunch of things. Not tapas, just a little bit smaller, fully-composed dishes.”
One of the most popular menu items is ‘Buffalo’ Sweetbreads with Blu di Bufala Dip, a dish Schenker says was a collaboration with his sous chefs. If sweetbreads or offal sound a little too out there for your palette, not to worry – Recette has something for foodies and less adventurous eaters alike.
“A lot of people that come in that don’t know they’re going to end up here … tend to be blown away by the food,” Schenker says. “They thought maybe Chicken Caesar or Cheeseburger and they end up getting Buffalo Sweetbreads and amazing Corn Soup with Squash Blossoms and they’re just, ‘Wow, I didn’t expect that.’”