I had no idea Kevin Patricio had tied the knot! I sat next to his wife on Monday at Café Boulud, where a press lunch was being held to introduce that restaurant’s new executive chef, Gavin Kaysen, to New York food media.
I actually first interviewed Gavin back in 2004 for an article I was writing about popcorn. Gavin was chef de cuisine of El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, and he was drizzling popcorn with foie gras fat.
I interviewed him a couple of years later about basil seeds, which soak up liquid and get all gelatinous (but not if you use citrus juice). He was using them in raw fish preparations at the time.
He represented the United States in the most recent Bocuse D’Or competition in Lyon. He came in 14th out of 24, which isn't bad, especially since his French assistant, Kevin, for some unknown reason ate the chicken wings that were supposed to garnish one of Gavin’s plates.
I mean, who does that?
Also, the United States doesn’t take the Bocuse d'Or seriously. Daniel said that Norway, by contrast, has a $1 million budget for its competitor.
It did get Gavin to meet Daniel, however, and landed him a high-profile job at Café Boulud (although Gavin also was a Food & Wine Best New Chef last year, so he was already doing well).
Anyway, Kevin Patricio, who is a cook, a marketer and is currently working on opening a restaurant with cocktail guy Jim Meehan, is married to Maite Montenegro, the Maître d' at Daniel. And she sat to my right at lunch. To my left was freelancer Kathleen Squires, who was recently in Japan for three months and shared many stories of it. She also recommended that I check out Soto restaurant here in New York, which she says is doing things very much in line with what the avant-garde restaurants in Tokyo are doing.
Next to Kathleen was engaging conversationalist and talented photographer Michael Harlan Turkell. We also had a Brazilian journalist and a guy from Wine Spectator at the table. So it was a good table. But the dining room was full of cool people. At least one of the Batterburys was there, and Regina Schrambling, and Jennifer Leuzzi, who actually videotaped Daniel’s introduction of Gavin. Daniel said Gavin had worked with Jennifer’s husband, Laurent Gras.
I think it was Gavin. Daniel actually introduced a bunch of chefs, including db Bistro Moderne executive sous chef Jim Leiken, who, he announced, will be heading up the chef’s new burger restaurant downtown, whenever it opens [indeed, it turns out that it was Eddy Leroux, co-chef de cuisine at Daniel, who worked with Laurent -- see comment #1 below]..
In the meantime, at lunch we ate:
Kona Kampachi sashimi with gingered carrot purée, lime gelée, avocado and coriander blossoms
2006 Beringer Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Yukon gold potato gnocchi with butter poached shrimp and green asparagus
2005 Beringer private reserve Napa Valley Chardonnay
Jamison Farms roasted saddle of spring lamb with sugar snap peas, flageolets, tomato confit and morel jus
1995 Beringer private reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Chocolate-hazelnut bar with meyer lemon marmalade, rice crispy and perrier lemon sorbet
2003 Beringer “Nightingale” botrytised Napa Valley
(By the way, that picture is of Gavin in 2006, posing for publicity for a 17-course dinner that he and 16 of his chef friends did to help raise money for the Bocuse d’Or competition).