Just walking into the Baccarat Hotel is a tactile experience on its very own, and when paired with a visit to the Grand Salon, it’s a match made in sensory heaven. Earlier this year, Culinary Director and Two Michelin-starred Chef Gabriel Kreuther unveiled his interpretation of an Alsatian-Inspired menu to be debuted in the Grand Salon, in-room dining and The Bar. Hailing from the French region of Alsace, Chef Kreuther’s inspirations are driven by both his deeply rooted Alsatian heritage and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Perfectly aligned with the same defining qualities that are synonymous with the legendary Baccarat name, Chef Kreuther became the ideal culinary partner for the 255-year old iconic crystal brand.
During his 30-year career, he has earned numerous awards including the highly regarded Best Apprentice award, Food & Wine’s Best New Chef’s list in 2003 and won a 2009 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef NYC. “Baccarat Hotel takes an elegant and sophisticated approach to hospitality that has similarly defined my career and my restaurant—prioritizing high-quality ingredients, fine craftsmanship, and beautiful presentation,” says Chef Kreuther.
WHY DID YOU BECOME A CHEF?
Since I can remember I’ve always wanted to become a chef and never changed my mind on the idea. In a way, I just followed my childhood dream and never looked back.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST BIG BREAK?
Winning the prize of Best Kitchen Apprentice of France in 1987. That opened a whole new chapter in my life and career; it gave me access to work with the best in the field and contributed to expanding my mind about food.
WHO HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCER OR MENTOR?
On the early side, my greatest influence was my mother, she is an amazing cook. Also, my uncle, under whom I did my apprenticeship. He was my early mentor and instilled in me the values and concept of quality in cuisine. Later in my life and career, I’ve had the privilege of working with so many talented people that continue to influence and help me polish my skills.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE?
Having been able to open my own place in New York City, and earning 2 Michelin Stars in record time.
WHAT IS YOUR SIGNATURE DISH?
1) Sturgeon Sauerkraut Tart, American Caviar and Apple Woodsmoke.
2)Squab and Foie Gras Croustillant with Caramelized Ginger Jus.
3) Hamachi, Black Truffle & Foie Gras Mille-Feuille
4) Chorizo crusted Cod Fish with Coco Bean Puree and Sherry Vinegar sauce
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS BEING ONE OF THE BIGGEST INFLUENCES OF YOUR COOKING?
My upbringing on a farm and my curiosity about other food cultures around the world. My working experiences with great, passionate people that taught me what to look for and understand why things are done in certain ways.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT FINE DINING?
That it’s only for the rich or the elite. I cannot disagree more. I grew up on a farm and ate my first lobster at age 18. When I was an apprentice, I saved my money to go out and eat, educate myself and try to differentiate between okay and great. I realized that eating at a high level of quality came at a price and that great products as well are expensive. But for me, it was always worth the money in the end. This level of dinning is an experience to cherish and remember, and certainly not an every-day adventure. It’s always been very amusing to hear people talking about that, and by the same token see them spend loads of money on concert tickets, shoes, perfumes, etc. Food is culture and it deserves just as much attention.
WHAT HAS BEEN ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHANGES OR TRENDS IN THE CULINARY WORLD SINCE YOUR CAREER BEGAN?
The dress code in restaurants. It has become more relaxed and enjoyable, which is a good thing in my opinion. Tasting menus are longer than it used to be; more of an experience today than just eating out. The trend that sticks out to me the most is the interest people have in understanding how things are made, where it comes from, who’s behind it, growing it, and if it’s sustainable and healthy.
DO YOU HAVE A DREAM COLLABORATION OR DREAM PATRON?
I would love to do a collaboration with Dominique Crenn. My dream patrons include Lewis Hamilton, Zinedine Zidane, Roger Federer.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE DISH GROWING UP AS A CHILD?
As a child, I always looked forward to eating foie gras twice a year, on Easter and Christmas. My favorite regular dish was a veal escalope with a cream and button mushroom sauce, served with french fries. I also loved rabbit in mustard sauce with spaetzle.