What makes a distinct dining experience for me? It is the cuisine, the atmosphere and conversations with someone special. Usually, though, we don’t get to meet the people who work behind the scenes to create these unforgettable meals. Several weeks ago, I sat with Chef Richard Farnabe at the famed Petrossian restaurant at 182 West 58th Street, New York, NY 10019. The French-born chef has a resume par excellence, punctuated with the names of restaurants that draw gourmands and stars to New York from around the world— Restaurant Daniel, Jean Georges, Lotus, and the Soho Grand Hotel and The Tribeca Grand Hotel, among others. Chef Farnabe is charming as he speaks to me with a radiant smile about his home away from home—Petrossian.
What makes a chef?
Passion. You have to be passionate for what you do or you will never be a chef. You have to love what you do.
What do you like about being a chef?
For me, teaching people in my kitchen how to be a chef, showing my passion, and demonstrating the techniques that will help them grow.
What is a perfect day in the kitchen?
Every day is a perfect day. I love waking up and coming to work. I love my job. I love what I do.
How long have you been a chef?
How did it come about?
I started when I was twelve–years-old. I am Parisian-born. As a young kid, I was cooking for my brother after school because my mother was working late. I got to love cooking, and found a passion for cooking.
Where did you acquire your experience in French cuisine?
I went to school in France. I worked for a wonderful chef for ten years—Jacques Maximin.
What makes Petrosssian a classic French restaurant?
Petrossian has been an institution since 1920. They have the best caviar in the world. Of course, we encapsulate the French technique in a classic restaurant like Petrossian with an American flair.