“It’s about adding an element of luxury that you might not enjoy on a daily basis whether it be scallops, lobster, white truffles or caviar,” explained Christian Pratsch, Executive Chef of Asiate at the Mandarin Oriental, New York. In an interview for Upscale Living Magazine, we discussed his approach to cuisine, signature dishes, and much more.
Chef Pratsch is U.S. born and German raised and began with an apprenticeship at the InterContinental in Hamburg, Germany, working every position in the kitchen of the hotel to quickly decide his calling was to run a kitchen. After his training, Chef Pratsch decided his career could take him to see the world and took positions on some of the world’s finest ships including the Sea Cloud II and MS Europa. Most recently Chef Pratsch spent two years sailing the world as Executive Chef aboard The World – Residences at Sea.
Tell me a little bit about your approach to cuisine at Asiate. Where do you source your inspiration from, and what is the philosophy underpinning the menu?
At Asiate, we welcome our guests with modern American cuisine accented with creative twists which is complemented by an outstanding wine selection and spectacular views in a fine dining setting. When I develop any menu for the restaurant, I take the season into consideration. For instance, I’ll weave those ingredients that really begin to flourish this time of year into the spring menus including peas, sprouts and lamb. My goal with Asiate is to create a memorable experience for our guests with an approachable menu, a contemporary atmosphere and impeccable service.
What are some of your signature dishes at Asiate, and how would you describe the tasting menu?
While the standout dishes vary depending upon the season, our foie gras and wagyu beef are certainly signature items that continuously evolve to reflect a particular time of year. All of our dishes at Asiate are composed of the best ingredients the region has to offer and I like to create a journey for our guests through the various seasonal inspirations with our seven-course Tasting Menu.
In terms of regional flair, how have you decided to balance your approach and style of cooking with the context in which you operate here in NYC more broadly, the United States?
For me, it’s about connecting the discerning guest or traveler who dines at Asiate with our Oriental heritage as well as our amazing location here in New York City. For instance, I might apply Asian or French or other cooking techniques but source all of the ingredients from local vendors and farmers.
In terms of wine and cocktails, what would be your signature recommendations to first-time visitors of the restaurant?
When a guest experiences Asiate for the first time, I might recommend that they select our seven-course Tasting Menu with wine pairings. The pairings menu has been carefully crafted by our award-winning wine team for a perfect balance of wine and food that does not compete, but complements each other incredibly well. For those seeking an indulgent experience, our signature Gratification cocktail is an experience in and of itself. Created in collaboration with New York mixologist Jason Littrell and served tableside, the cocktail is a distinctive way to experience Krug Grande Cuvee Champagne when it’s combined with Delamain Vesper Cognac, Grand Marnier Centenaire, yuzu juice and agave nectar.
Finally, on special occasions such as Christmas, New Year’s or Valentine’s Day, what kinds of menus have you prepared, and what’s on the horizon for 2015?
Each occasion is incredibly special and distinctive in its celebration. Valentine’s Day, for example is directed towards couples while a Christmas and New Year’s celebration might be more family-oriented. With each experience, we incorporate specific ingredients or colors into our menus at Asiate to commemorate the occasion. It’s about adding an element of luxury that you might not enjoy on a daily basis whether it be scallops, lobster, white truffles or caviar, all of which can be expected over the coming year.