Chef Jesse Schenker turned heads when he opened up Recette, an upscale urban American restaurant with its infamous chef’s tasting menu, “Mondays with Jesse.” The Daily Meal spoke with Chef Schenker about his new venture, Gander, which just opened last month in New York’s Flatiron District.
Congratulations on your new restaurant! How is this concept different from Recette?
The Gander is more "everyday" than Recette. Our lunch, mid-day and brunch (which just launched May 3rd) menus feature salads, sandwiches, burgers and other dishes that are comforting to our guests, and during dinner, we want people to feel the same. Our snacks, starters, pastas and entrees remind people of familiar dishes and flavors, with a contemporary twist.
The menu seems to have some interesting takes on comfort food, as well as small plates. Where do you get your inspiration for your recipes?
We serve innovative, yet approachable, food by transforming familiar American favorites into contemporary renditions. I constantly find inspiration from old cookbooks and classic recipes. It is important to me to explore and study various techniques because the challenge is what inspires me to continue to develop new ideas and dishes.
What would you say is your favorite dish on the menu, and why?
One of my favorite dishes on the menu is the Spaghetti & Clams with razor clams, littlenecks, and geoduck. The traditional dish is an iconic classic that people love, and I think it really demonstrates how we can take something simple and interpret it in a new light, that is still just as "craveable."