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I love Food. Cooking it. Eating it. Experiencing it. As a result, that's what this blog has evolved into: A journal of my gastronomical journeys abroad, as well as my culinary creativity at home. I hope you enjoy what I have to say, and I'd love to hear your comments... Cheers!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An English(man) in New York

There aren't many chefs as prolific as Todd English. He is seemingly everywhere, all at once. Whether you think of him as dreamy or dastardly (depending on what you read and/or believe in the tabloids), there is no denying Chef Todd's impact on American dining.

I got to meet and work with Mr. English a few years back, so it was my pleasant surprise (but really, no surprise at all, come to think of it!) to run into him at his newest endeavor, the Todd English Food Hall. Housed in the Plaza Hotel, which has of late been a culinary kiss of death to all chef-types who dare enter, Todd and his team have created a decidedly different dining experience than this Central Park South landmark has seen.On this day, Todd was shooting webisodes for the Today show's web site. I was there when it first opened, so I can't speak to the crowds it attracted or the food it produced, but I can tell you I was impressed with the layout (and my Cafe Au Lait!)...

I'd been following the progress of this Food Hall since it was first announced, and my hopes were that it would be akin to the Ferry Building in San Francisco. What it actually is, I found, is more a nod to Harrod's in London. Not a bad trade off...

This basement space has a Euro vibe all the way: part brasserie, part food court. There are 8 different food serving stations with everything from pizza to pastries; sushi to sandwiches. Sprinkled amongst them in a tasteful yet strategic way are All Things English. You can truly be a Consumer with a capital "C" here, in every sense: eating your way around the square, while filling your shopping bag with cook books, spices, etc. A true union of cooking and commerce!

I salute Todd for having the onions to open such an ambitious undertaking in such a daunting locale...and putting his name smack dab on the front door, no less!

I know I'll be back, and this time, I'll be there to take -- and taste -- the grand tour of the Food Hall... and I won't be surprised in the least to see Todd there, too...

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