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Love In Action

Jean-Georges: A Career in Cuisine

According to New York magazine, there is no chef who has exerted more influence on New York City restaurants than Jean-Georges Vongerichten. He first arrived in Manhattan’s Chinatown in 1986, and before that he opened ten restaurants around the world from 1980 to 1985. Jean-Georges was born and raised in Alsace, France, and it was there that he spent much of his youth helping his mother and grandmother in the kitchen. It was only when his parents brought him to a restaurant for his sixteenth birthday that he realized he could make a life out of food. He tells Deepak how his father asked the waiters if they had any work for his “good for nothing son,” and the following week he set out on his now legendary career.

Today, Jean-Georges has over twenty-five different restaurants around the world and he is the author of five cookbooks. ABC Kitchen was voted best new restaurant in the United States by James Beard when it opened. He serves on the Food Council for City Harvest, New York’s largest food rescue operation working to help feed the 1.2 million food-insecure residents of the city. Jean-Georges also runs his own foundation, known as Food Dreams. Food Dreams offers scholarships, training, and job placement opportunities to students dreaming of becoming chefs, and is dedicated to bridging the gap between these students and the culinary community.

Jean-Georges and Deepak discuss the importance of ingredients in cooking, and Jean-Georges goes so far as to state that seventy-percent of all good cooking comes down to good ingredients. His food is known for its rejection of traditional meat stocks and creams, and his insistence on using vegetable juices, fruit essences, light broths, and herbal vinaigrettes. Jean-Georges also tells Deepak that whenever he wants to understand a city, he goes to the marketplaces. It is at the marketplaces that he learns how and what people eat.

Food and family values and vibrant living are all intrinsically linked in the life and works of Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and in this episode of Love in Action, we are given a glimpse of the attentive devotion this living legend brings to his every approach to the art of fine cuisine.

30:33 | 2014

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