Michael White talks about his new restaurant and his friendship with Anthony Bourdain
You have earned many Michelin stars over the years. Is this recognition still important to you?
Oh, absolutely. The Michelin Guide is really, for me, the barometer. We don’t know when they are at the restaurant and they are notoriously anonymous. The reason this is very important to me is the fact that I grew up working in Italy in my formal years, and this is the barometer of everything. That’s why I love the Michelin guide and I’m so glad they’re here in New York. I got my first Michelin star in 2006 at Fiamma, and now they’re in Florida, which is fun, and then they’re going to Vancouver.
Pleasant. Do you have an ingredient you can’t work without?
Wow. Right now, let me tell you…I would definitely say olive oil. It’s so important when cooking. Whether it’s for crudos or for drizzling simple greens with sea salt.
Do you have a favorite olive oil?
Eh. I’m really kind of an oil snob, but I shouldn’t be. But if I eat a bowl of borlotti beans or a soup or something like that, you definitely want to have a Tuscan brand, very fragrant olive oil. When making crudos, I might use something a little lighter so I can taste the fish.
Do you have a guilty pleasure food or a food that you would defend even if it is not well received?
Like Doritos or something?
Yeah. For me, it’s Kraft Parmesan cheese. I know it’s wrong, I know it’s disgusting, but for some reason I like it.
Of course, of course. Wow. Really, I like a good chocolate. I have to tell you, though… I love a good Coca-Cola. It’s good, no ?
Totally. It’s the perfect hangover drink.
Yeah. A good Coca-Cola where you just had dinner in Paris or something, and after dinner you need a Coca-Cola, right? I mean, I know there’s a lot of people who can relate to that.
And Coca-Cola is better there too.
You talked a bit about other projects you have up your sleeve, could you tell us more?
White: Yeah, as I told you before, I’m opening Paranza, an Italian seafood restaurant at The Cove in Atlantis. After that, I really can’t tell you. But it will be announced soon, I promise. Yeah. So a restaurant in Miami, and a new restaurant in New York, I guess.
Oh wow. Surprising.
In 24, let’s just say. A midtown Italian restaurant in 24… Can’t wait for everyone to come back to New York. That’s what I’m looking forward to. I am a firm believer in New York and I am patiently waiting, like all of my counterparts and colleagues, for everyone to come back to New York and for Broadway shows to resume. And let’s start again. I can not wait to be there.
The Lambs Club, featuring a new menu courtesy of award-winning chef James Beard Michael White, is now open in New York’s Theater District for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This article has been edited for clarity.