Chef Waltuck sticks to classic French techniques

Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:06pm EST
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Despite growing up in the Bronx and more than three decades in the restaurant business in Manhattan, American chef David Waltuck's cuisine is grounded in classic French techniques.

The owner, along with his wife Karen, of the famed New York restaurant Chanterelle, has weathered a fair share of struggles since it opened in 1979.

At the time New York City nearly buckled under a fiscal crisis, and more than two decades later the downtown restaurant survived the Sept 11 attacks on the World Trade Center which was not far away.

Through it all, Waltuck's creative, French-inspired cuisine has garnered awards and a devoted following. It also formed the basis for his latest cookbook "Chanterelle: The Story and Recipes of a Restaurant Classic".

He spoke to Reuters about his passion for French cooking.

Q: How has your cuisine evolved?

A: "It has not changed that much. I've gotten better with what I do. The essence of it hasn't changed. I'm basically self-taught. I'm still very French-oriented. There has been more of an opening to Asian ingredients and Middle Eastern ingredients, which I didn't use when I first started."

Q: By incorporating elements from other cuisines to your French-based cooking, is it fusion cooking?   Continued...

<p>Chef David Waltuck appears in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Laurie Rhodes/Handout</p>