Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Pranna's new chef

June 2

New York, say hello to Keith Kornfeld, the new chef at Pranna.

Keith, a New Orleans native, comes fresh off of a stage at Namh, a Michelin-starred Thai restaurant in London, where he studied under renowned Thai chef David Thompson (Thompson's actually Australian, but he is perhaps the world's greatest chef of Thai cuisine nonetheless — at least that's his reputation, I've never eaten his food myself, but I met him at the Beard awards a few years back and he seemed like a nice guy).

Before his ten-day stint at Namh, Keith was chef of The Outrigger on the Lagoon in Fiji, and he also has worked in both Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand.

Keith has high aspirations for Pranna, which is good, both because Pranna's owners have high aspirations for it and because this city could use some more good Southeast Asian food (although last week my friend Andy Battaglia and I did have some top-notch food at Betel -- of course they knew I was a food writer and that obviously could color the experience, as you know).

Pranna's a bit hamstrung when it comes to culinary aspirations by the fact that it looks and feels like a club. Are its guests looking for great Southeast Asian and South Asian food? Would they know it if they saw it? Is it condescending of me to ask (of course it is, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong)?

You might recall that back in February I met the restaurant's bar manager, Eric Greczel, who shared his plans to turn Pranna's basement into a high-end cocktail bar.

I've been a bad journalist and haven't followed up to see if those plans came about. If you have, well, why don't you tell me about it by commenting below?

In the meantime, best of luck to Keith Kornfeld and the whole Pranna team.

(Keith is not, by the way, related to my cousins, the Wichita-Denver Kornfelds, in case you were wondering).

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