Chef DeLucie lifts lid on cooking for celebrities

Tue Jun 9, 2009 11:51am EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - John DeLucie didn't think the world needed another recipe for roast chicken so instead of writing a cookbook the chef at New York's trendy Waverly Inn decided to write a memoir instead.

Since he took over the restaurant in 2007 DeLucie has cooked updates of his American comfort food to celebrities and locals.

In "The Hunger: A Story of Food, Desire, and Ambition," he lifts the lid on what it is like cooking for the rich and famous.

He spoke to Reuters about his career, ambitions and how to get a coveted table at his restaurant.

Q: Describe yourself as a chef.

A "I'm practical. Does a chef want to be known for cooking a hamburger? As a chef, you want to be known for cooking something elegant. But when you become a partner, the market is telling you it wants to eat this product. Then who am I to say I won't serve that? Anyway I can accommodate my customers, I will gladly do it."

Q: How did you come up with the menu at The Waverly Inn?

A: "I had opened many restaurants over the years. There was a concept put forward. I'm not one of these chefs that could dictate a whole menu ... We had this space that's 100 years old. It had been The Waverly Inn for many, many years. It had served this kind of cuisine for many years. We weren't going to mess with that. I just wanted to improve upon it. My job is to get it out of the kitchen and make it as good as it could be."   Continued...

<p>Undated handout photo of John DeLucie who is the chef at New York's trendy Waverly Inn. Reuters/Mark Abrahams/Handout</p>