World Chefs: Fraser finds freedom in expiration eatery

Tue May 24, 2011 6:41am EDT
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - John Fraser, who owns the Michelin-star Dovetail restaurant in New York, has opened a creative restaurant that will last only nine months.

Since starting the restaurant, What Happens When, in January, Fraser and his partners have created a new art-inspired menu and ambience each month. In the latest "movement," they drew inspiration from American jazz and the flavors of New Orleans.

The 35-year-old California native spoke about his new cooking outlet, creativity and experimenting with a new concept.

Q: Is What Happens When a pop-up restaurant?

A: "No, I would discourage using that word, and I've done a few pop-up restaurants. It denotes a place that's not their own and cooks for a limited time like a week, and with a borrowed staff and borrowed ideas. This is really a restaurant. It just happens to have an end date."

Q: So it's a restaurant with an expiration date?

A: "We are going with the concept that every month it will change. Every month in the nine months, we are going to change the design and the food and the composition of the music. It's really more like a sort of circus than a restaurant."

Q: This is something you always wanted to do?   Continued...

<p>An undated handout of John Fraser, who owns the Michelin-star Dovetail in New York, and has opened a restaurant that lasts nine months to experiment. Reuters/Courtesy Dovetail</p>