When Philippe Chow first opened in New York City 10 years ago, people came from near and far to try his authentic Beijing cuisine, including celebrities like Mariah Carey, Rihanna, and Carmelo Anthony. Of course, normal folks like us enjoy chowing down on his signature dishes, too, so we're glad that the eatery welcomes a diverse crowd to the sultry surroundings of its Upper East Side outpost. The Daily Meal was invited to try Philippe, and spoke with John Villa, its newly appointed president and partner, to get the scoop.
The Daily Meal: How does your experience helping grandma cook Italian Sunday dinner translate to the kitchen somewhere like Philippe, where you serve soup dumplings, Beijing chicken, and Peking duck?
John Villa: Growing up, my entire family was passionate about food. At my grandparents’ place, they made their own compost made from plums, zucchini and tomatoes. I remember my grandfather eating a raw tomato with olive oil and seasoning. It was about the simplicity of ingredients.
To this day, I can still remember the smell of Sunday dinners and homemade sauce. It made you feel alive. I even learned how to use my sense of smell from her. I use my sense of smell as an indicator to detect if a dish is cooked to perfection; I recall being able to smell my first stock and was able to gauge instantaneously if it would taste good or not. That’s when I knew I made the right decision for my career.
Are there any dishes on the menu that people will recognize specifically as a signature "Philippe Chow" dish?
We have many staples here at Philippe: chicken satay, green prawns and Peking duck, just to name a few.
Any news dishes on the horizon, like lighter fare options?
Our goal is to incorporate more seasonal items that are not thought of typical Chinese cuisine. Specifically, we’ll be working with raw ingredients to provide healthier and alternate options in addition to lightly seared fish such as tuna, among other delectable dishes.