Right before the Savor Borgata Street Eats Festival opened its doors to ticketholders for fun, games, and 20 food stations on November 8, the participating chefs gathered in a conference room where we were encouraged to mingle with them. Bobby Flay relaxed at a high-top table, Geoffrey Zakarian took a seat on the sofa, and Wolfgang Puck, better late than never, posted up by the door with a glass of red in hand. Here are some of the interesting interactions we had with the celebrated masters of cuisine:
I see you’ve already grabbed a lovely glass of red.
I like red wine because it doesn’t have as much acidity — and, red wine is best for tonight, because we’re making duck.
What makes tonight so special?
It’s not every day you can taste all different things from each restaurant in one place. People like to interact with the chefs, come up to the counter, and ask questions — they can hang out with us, and then go gamble.
Anything new and exciting happening in your world?
We just opened in Dubai last Saturday. Dubai is like Las Vegas on steroids, except there’s no gaming. They have the biggest shopping malls — the one next to our hotel had 170 eateries.
What’s the signature dish?
Well, it’s a CUT restaurant. We sell more Kobe beef over there than anywhere.
What’s your favorite part of the night?
We’re all old friends and have been for a long time. I’ve known Geoffrey since 1987 and Bobby since 1989. Tonight, we’re all getting together to serve 1,500 people. It’s a tight community, and it’s like a pyramid in this business. Bobby is huge, Wolf is gigantic. We love quality things, beautiful things, sophisticated things, and wine.
What’s on your plate for 2015?
Something in Los Angeles. I can’t quite say yet, but it’s going to be an exciting, fun, casual, Italian-centric thing.
What’s your favorite part of this event?
Everyone else’s food.
Why is it important for you to show up to Street Eats every year?
This is part of my family, here at Borgata, and my mother lives in South Jersey. I have a bunch of burger places here, and my steakhouse is here. It’s a no-brainer.
Any upcoming projects in your back pocket?
I have a book coming out in the fall on brunch, and a show on brunch as well.
We feel like brunch has been getting thrown under the bus lately...
It has, but brunch needs thoughtfulness and respect. You have to take it seriously.
What’s in the cookbook?
Lots of eggs.
Bobby’s coming out with a book on brunch. What’s your secret for fluffy scrambled eggs?
Add some cold butter in while they’re cooking.
We just overheard a conversation you were having about your favorite New York restaurants…
I was saying that Noma, to me, isn’t food. It doesn’t impress me. I want food I can smell, that’s sticky and gamy. If it’s not smelly, it’s not memorable. The pizza at Franny’s in Brooklyn is f***ing spectacular.