Exploring the tastes of Asia with the Vongerichten Family

Posted by OmarTarakiNiodeFoundation
09 August 2012 | blogpost

Jean-Georges Vongerichten is a world-renowned chef and a famous restaurateur with more than 20 well known eateries in metropolitan cities around the globe; New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, London and Paris to name a few.

He has received a number of accolades for his restaurants counting three stars from the Michelin Guide, four stars from The New York Times, and an award for Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation. Jean Georges, born in France and now resides in New York, initiated a signature, prix-fixe menu or multi course menu at a set price, adding Asian flavors to traditional French cuisine in the US. He is very proficient in sequencing flavors; hence making a zest of each bite. 

PBS TV viewers enjoyed the Kimchi Chronicles hosted by Marja, Jean-Georges' wife. The series began airing last year, with Jean-Georges also on the show. Marja explored and celebrated a cuisine and a culture committed to the age-old practice of taking something ordinary and making it extraordinary. Her dramatic story as a Korean-American was also told throughout the series.

In August 2009, readers of Jean-Georges' blog noticed an interesting article: New Perry St. Chef: Cedric Vongerichten.  Jean-Georges wrote: “I’m proud to say that my son Cedric is now the executive chef at Perry St., my downtown New York City restaurant. This is the first time he’s running his own kitchen, but he’s been working towards this for years.”

Last year Cedric was listed in Zagat Survey's 30 Under 30: New York's Hottest Up-and-Comers. International living has influenced Cedric since he was born in Bangkok. He played in the kitchens where his father worked. Cedric traveled to and worked in his father’s famous establishments in London and Hong Kong, before he entered the Culinary Institute of America and apprenticed with chef Ferran Adrià at the world famous elBulli in Spain.

Terzi Niode from The Omar Niode Foundation had a wonderful opportunity last month to visit Perry St. Restaurant and met Cedric Vongerichten and his wife Ochi Latjuba Vongerichten. Ochi was born and raised in Indonesia and attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York where she met Cedric a few years ago.  Like Cedric, Ochi is not new to culinary arts. As a little girl she tasted food from sample menus almost daily and tagged along with her mother who owns a very successful catering business in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Perry St. Restaurant, featuring American, French and Asian contemporary cuisine, is located in an expensive and classy residential area of West Village on 176 Perry Street Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson river. 

On his email to Omar Niode Foundation’s blog admin, Terzi wrote: “I visited Perry St. during lunch time and had a pleasant culinary experience from the moment I entered and greeted by the host, to the time I left the restaurant.

While waiting for Ochi Vongerichten to arrive, a server offered a seat on the sofa next to the bar and offered a selection of drinks.  After Ochi and her toddler son came we ordered from the menu with the server expertly explained each and every dish. I was informed that one of the servers is a professional photographer.  A complementary dish came from Cedric the chef, it was Fried Jalapeno with a Special Dip Sauce. 

Ochi recommended selections from the menu and we had the NZ Red Snapper Sashimi for an appetizer. Interestingly the dish had a bit of chili in it. As an entrée we had Crispy Fried Chicken with Scotch Bonnet Sauce Creamed Corn and Cilantro. Dessert was Jean-Georges’ Special Molten Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream. 

According to Ochi, the restaurant frequently adds new dishes to the menu. On April 23, for example, Cedric tweeted “Starting this Tuesday @Perry St_NYC  soft shell crab with Sambal Matah, Basil Emulsion, Market baby Spinach.” This newest dish was inspired by the family’s visit to the island of Bali in Indonesia where Cedric enjoyed the food in Jimbaran, a fishing village and tourist resort area there.”

The Vongerichten family togetherness and professional skills were on show on June 14 at De Gustibus School of Good Taste at Macys. Its Spring 2012 calendar promoted “an unprecedented cooking class with Jean Georges Vongerichten as host alongside his son, famed chef Cedric, while Jean-Georges’ wife Marja, host of PBS series Kimchi Chronicles prepares delights inspired by her Korean heritage, and Ochi, Cedric’s wife, cooks dishes from her native Indonesia.”

The second course of the evening was Peekytoe Crab Dumplings with Market Greens and Sambal Oelek, Indonesia's most favorite chili based sauce.

The first family of the culinary world, De Gustibus’ terms for the Vongerichtens, will undoubtedly keep exploring the tastes of Asia, creating easy to cook magnificent dishes, and leaving plenty of time to enjoy them in the company of friends and loved ones. 


Photos:  Terzi Niode, Cedric Vongerichten, Chef Jean-Georges' album  

To explore Jean-Georges' culinary empire visit www.jean-georges.com

Try Cedric’s recipe for Perry St. Peekytoe Crab and Market Vegetable Salad with Floral Vinaigrette featured at The Chef’s Connection.