le cirque

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.

New Leaf Restaurant and BarThe 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:

Scott Campbell of New Leaf1. How old were you when you first started to cook?


2. When did you decide that you could make food your career?

High school.

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?

It sings.

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?

Stay tuned.

ICA Morimoto vs. Zakarian

You’ve seen Geoffrey Zakarian as a judge on Chopped. You’ve seen him helping out on Hell’s Kitchen. You have seen Zakarian as a judge on Top Chef. Now you will see him like you’ve never seen him before, as a contestant. And not in some lame culinary free-for-all where the challenge often fails to identify the best chef (see above) but in the only chef competition on TV that pits two chefs in a one-on-one cooking competition, Iron Chef America.

Of late Zakarian has been seen on every major cooking show on TV and he has released a cookbook, Geoffrey Zakarian’s Town/Country: 150 Recipes for Life Around the Table.  As a result, Zakarian has all but abandoned professional cooking of late, but when he enters Kitchen Stadium Iron Chef Morimoto will be waiting for him.  You have to admire Geoffrey for returning to the stove against an Iron Chef like Morimoto.  The question that remains – is he rusty?

Zakarian’s career has been a distinguished one.  After graduation from CIA he went from being a line cook (’82) to Chef de Cuisine (’87 ) at famed Le Cirque.  From there he took the same post at another legendary New York eatery, “21” Club.  In ’88 he was named the executive chef at Maxwell’s Plum where he stayed only months before moving to “44” Restaurant where he served as executive chef for the better part of a decade.  A brief stint in Miami brought him back to the Big Apple, this time as the chef/owner of Town which was soon followed by Country.

A native of Bordeaux, Zakarian pits his classic French cuisine against the new age Japanese style of Iron Chef Morimoto.  The judges were Anya Fernald, Danyelle Freeman and Donatella Arpaia.  After two weeks off, ICA returns with a true heavy weight battle.

SPOILER ALERT: Click HERE for the Outcome.

Geoffrey Zakarian’s Town/Country: 150 Recipes for Life Around the Table

ICA Morimoto vs. Zakarian – Outcome

SPOILER ALERT: The following information is the outcome of Morimoto vs. Zakarian.  If you want information on the combatants click HERE.  If you are only interested in the outcome read on.

The judges were Anya Fernald, Danyelle Freeman and Donatella Arpaia.

Battle: Sardines

Morimoto              Zakarian
Taste: 28                Taste: 23
Plating: 14             Plating: 10
Originality: 15      Originality: 10
Total: 57                 Total: 43

Winner: Iron Chef Morimoto

ICA: Mendholson vs Symon – Outcome

Iron Chef Michael Symon was triumphant in Battle: Prosciutto.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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