Chef/Creator Scott Conant
TravelsinTaste had the distinct pleasure of engaging one of New York’s most beloved and respected chefs, not to mention one of the country's preeminent Italian masters: Scott Conant. Host of "24 Hour Restaurant Battle," a judge on "Chopped" and owner of five Scarpetta restaurants across North America, plus his latest concept, D.O.C.G. Enoteca in Las Vegas, Chef Conant's cuisine is legendary in our hometown of New York. We were especially pleased, therefore, to have the opportunity to ask him about his favorite local restaurants, his friend Geoffrey Zakarian, his experiences on Food Network and his most memorable meal.
TravelsinTaste: If you were taking a chef friend out to dinner, where would you take him?
Scott Conant: It depends on the friend. Geoffrey Zakarian and I are very close friends, but Geoffrey is wildly pretentious. Geoffrey is the discerner of fine things, so I think if I were to take him to a restaurant in L.A., for example, I might take him to a place he would really appreciate, like Mozza, the pizza place. I think he would love that. I also think he would equally appreciate Providence in L.A. for similar reasons. They're at two very different ends of the spectrum, but equally wonderful. My friend Marcus Samuelsson actually took me to dinner one night, and because he has an Ethiopian background he said, "Let's go to an Ethiopian restaurant across town here in New York." I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but it was spectacular. We sat on the floor and we ate with our hands and we bonded over this delicious food. It was an experience of relating to part of his background and his culture, something he was reintroduced to over the years. When you speak about food, you think about culture. It depends on whatever it is and whomever you're sharing those things with, but the most important thing is the bonding you have with your group.