7 Questions with Scott Campbell
For years visitors to the Big Apple have followed a fairly established itinerary: Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, the Empire State Building, Katz’ Deli and Central Park. For those with a more food-centric lifestyle the list might now include a visit to Mario Batali’s new Eataly, a Disney-like presentation of a classic Tuscan villa. But few, if any, visitors have said, “The one place I have to visit in New York is Fort Tryon Park.” Bette Midler is trying to change that. Yep, that Bette Midler.
The park was a gift to the city of New York from John D. Rockefeller in 1917 and was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. whose father was the architect of Central Park. This beautiful wild space amongst the urban jungle is teeming with history dating back to the Revolutionary War, it is home to the Cloisters (a satellite of the Metropolitan Museum of Art devoted to medieval art) and it’s next door neighbor Midler’s New Leaf Restaurant & Bar.
The Devine Miss M opened New Leaf in an old New York City Parks Department cafeteria and all net proceeds support the restoration and maintenance of New York City parks, as well as afford a revenue stream to her non-profit New York Restoration Project’s efforts to restore and maintain its 55 community gardens located across the city. To guide her modern American eatery she tabbed Chef Scott Campbell to design the a modern American menu.
At New Leaf, Campbell takes inspiration from local green markets and gardens to create an ever-changing menu. Campbell is also inspired by his years in the industry that began at Detroit’s famed London Chop House. After moving to New York he then earned his way working at some of Manhattan’s top restaurants like the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel, Union Square Café, Windows on the World, Sfuzzi and Le Cirque. Campbell was even one of the first challengers on Iron Chef: America taking on Eataly’s own Mario Batali in Battle Cheese.
Chef Scott Q. Campbell was nice enough to answer 7 Questions:
2. When did you decide that you could make food your career?
3. Which chefs have influenced you the most?
Professionally: Madeleine Kamman, Peter Kump and Jean Louis Palladin. Home: mom & grandma.
4. How is Bette Midler’s palate?
5. What’s the highlight of your career so far?
Mayor’s Certificate for “Outstanding Volunteer Services” awarded by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani for “Community Service and Outreach to New Yorkers and served as preliminary judge for The Voluntary Action Center task force for 1997.
6. Do you find that the charitable aspect of New Leaf makes the long hours easier to handle?
It makes you grow everyday.
7. What’s next for Chef Scott Campbell?