Published November 30, 2012
Critically-acclaimed chef Michael Anthony says he strives to make food that is “simple and undermanipulated” and that most of all “leaves an indelible mark.”
Simplicity (along with amazing food) is what Anthony serves up at New York City's award-winning Gramercy Tavern--and something that he picked up as a roookie chef with a bad case of wanderlust.
After graduating from Indiana University with degrees in Business, French and Japanese, Anthony moved to Tokyo to immerse himself in the culture and language.
“I started learning a lot of jobs to try to find myself immersed in a Japanese speaking environment and those experiences included working on a farm on the side of a live volcano; mornings were spent in the barns cutting wild flowers and picking berries,” Anthony told FoxNews.com’s Kitchen Superstars. “I worked in a bakery and then I found a restaurant that was willing to give me a chance to work.”
After finding his footing in a Tokyo kitchen under chef Shizuyo Shima, Anthony moved to Paris to attend culinary school and subsequently worked in some of France’s most acclaimed restaurants, including Jaques Cagna.
When Anthony returned stateside, he brought his thoughtful and flavorful cooking back to New York City, where he takes advantage of fresh, local ingredients.
“My take on food is really all about expressing something that’s unique to the area that we’re cooking and in this case, New York City is an amazing place to be for so many reasons. We can tell the story of what kind of food we serve here in almost any way we choose,” Anthony said.
Anthony took the reins at Gramercy Tavern from another well-known chef – Tom Colicchio. Since joining the Gramercy Tavern team in 2006, the restaurant has earned a Michelin star each year, has been dubbed New York City’s Most Popular Restaurant four times by Zagat Survey, and Anthony himself was awarded a James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef in New York City in 2012.
“We’re only as good as the last meal that we cooked and no matter what the reason is that people fall in love with our restaurant, we have an agreement and that’s to work hard and think imaginatively,” Anthony said.
He also credits the Gramercy Tavern team for always striving to connect with and understand patrons to provide the best service possible.
“Every single table is a little different and if we’re listening carefully we’re truly on the side of the folks that eat here, then all of a sudden they feel welcome and not just some plastered smile that every business feels like they have to do,” Anthony said. “It’s the people who work here genuinely love their jobs and they want for people to have a good time.”