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Home > DINING WITH CHEFS > New York Dining with Chefs > SHO Shaun Hergatt (Part 1 of 3)

SHO Shaun Hergatt

Executive Chef Shaun Hergatt

TravelsinTaste.com recently made its way to Manhattan's financial district to try one of New York's hottest new restaurants: SHO Shaun Hergatt. Although its reputation was enough to entice us, it didn't hurt, either, that we were already familiar with uber-chef Hergatt, who previously manned the kitchen at The Setai in South Beach.

Having tried some of Chef Hergatt's fabulous creations there, we wondered what made him leave Miami's sand and sun for the concrete jungle. "Opening Miami was a bit of a challenge for me," he told us. "I was 29 at the time and I wanted to be the chef. I thought it was a lot smaller than it was. I went down there, and then it was this huge thing. I ended up doing it for four years, so that was great. Then the people who own the hotel -- the Setai guys -- asked me if I wanted to come and do this. I didn't want to work for another company; I wanted to open my brand and be an owner rather than an employee. So I opened my company and got my trademark done. They introduced me to the investor. I put forth my business plan and we got the whole deal cut. After that I worked heavily with the designers, right from the start. We put this together in about a year to a year and a half. We had a six-month delay in construction, which is OK because it gave us extra time to get ready. From the table appointments right through to the chairs, the whole vision has been mine. I brought all of these individuals together with their unique talents and then mixed them up, but at the same time I knew exactly what the vision was from the start. That's why when you walk into the space it feels like it was just meant to be. That's not mixing and matching. That's the one thing that I'm very proud of. All of the people involved worked together and come up with an amazing product."

Although its design is beautiful, the restaurant's concept is what's most important, according to Chef Hergatt. "It's very important," he continued. "It's not just about the food. The philosophy is about the service, food and wine program; that whole synergy has to work within one realm and has to feel like it's meant to be. The idea behind this restaurant is that we try to make sure it’s a team effort, not one superstar. It's about making sure that the whole conglomeration works together. That's very, very important for us. The restaurant is a beautiful blend of European excellence with Asian accented style. Also, Asia has amazing service. We really wanted to make a great restaurant concept. Here you lift yourself out of New York. You definitely enliven your spirits and you understand that this is a tranquil area, especially after a hard day at work in New York. It is very important that we have residential service; because you are coming into our home, we look after you as a family member or good friend. I think we've been quite successful with that, as we have regular clients already. I think they feel the warmth of the staff, as well. My personality being Australian, I'm a very warm and open person. I wanted to make sure that carried through the entire service aspect."

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