Filed under: Dining
Luxist had the opportunity to talk to rising star chef, Michael Hartnell, Executive Head Chef at Le Caprice, the fashionable Martin Brudnizki-designed restaurant in Manhattan's Pierre Hotel overlooking Central Park. The 28 year old wunderkind is known for his creative and modern European dishes.
Hartnell has worked for the Caprice Holdings Group for the past six years; prior to opening Le Caprice in New York, he was Head Chef at Daphne's in South Kensington, London.
Le Caprice, which opened in October 2009, is the American outpost of the famous London brasserie that shares the same name.
Luxist: Tell us about your background?
I was born in West London and grew up on the outskirts of London. My big opportunity came at the age of 15 when I did my work experience with my brother at The Ivy in London's West End. After finishing school, I completed my apprenticeship there and at other restaurants including Daphne's in South Kensington where I eventually became Head Chef at age 26 and Locande Locatelli, which is a One Star Michelin Italian Restaurant owned by Giorgio Locatelli.
Luxist: How does Le Caprice reflect your personality and vision as a chef?
Le Caprice embodies everything I love about food: its simple, well-produced and well executed. There is something on the menu for everyone's taste and that is a good reflection of myself. I'm not a complicated cook that likes to over elaborate on dishes, but what we do is done with a lot of passion. I aim to produce simple food using the best produce possible in sync with the seasons.
Luxist: Describe the menu offerings at Le Caprice in New York. What are the specialties? How often will the menu change? Describe your seasonal fare.
Chef Hartnell: We have Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner and Bar menus. We have weekly changing specials and we also tweak the a la carte menu on a weekly basis to keep the menu as seasonal as possible. At the moment we are using fantastic fava beans, peas and artichokes. One of my favorite things right now is King Salmon, which we get from Washington State.