Q&A with Alain Allegretti
NYC's sexiest chef on Greek yogurt, Natalie Portman and why he's totally over Balsamic vinegar.
With its cream-based sauces and liberal use of butter, classic French food doesn't immediately signal "healthy." But 42-year-old Alain Allegretti, owner and head chef at Manhattan's La Promenade des Anglais, is part of a younger generation who make Gallic cuisine feel fresh and of-the-moment, while staying true to his roots. (Case in point: his kale and red cabbage salad with duck prosciutto, pomegranate, shaved mushrooms, cheese and candied walnuts). We asked Allegretti, who is as easy on the eyes as his food is on the palette, what life is like outside the kitchen.
I go to the gym 4-5 days a week, usually in the afternoon, and do a lot of weights. Every day I do a different muscle: chest, shoulders, arms, triceps, legs …
His breakfast of champions:
Two percent Greek yogurt with the Atkins Bar cereal, almonds and raspberries. Grapefruit juice and, on Sundays, green tea.
What we’d be surprised to find in his fridge:
A lack of food. I am never at home.
His best vacation ever:
Anywhere I can ski. I love it. Vail, Beaver Creek or back home in the South of France …
The last place he made a reservation:
His style icon:
Brad Pitt. He is always very casual but very crisp and refined.
His "healthy living" hero:
My Dad. He’s 72 years old and has a six-pack. He goes to the gym every day, it’s pretty impressive.
What totally relaxes him:
Playing golf, or playing sports in general.
The kitchen appliance he can’t live without:
The Slap Chop. Really, I have one.
His all-time favorite city:
New York. I like the vibe, and that regardless of who you are, you’re nobody — nobody cares about you, they’re not jealous. They don’t look at you as a hero, but they are happy for you for your success …
His biggest vice:
I have a sweet tooth. And I am very impatient. One of the two.
When he feels most at home:
When I am with my family in France or when I am at work.
The wardrobe item he can’t live without:
My jeans (7 for All Mankind) and Converse sneakers.
The book on his bedside table right now:
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. I wanted to read his story but so far it doesn’t excite me so much.
The most surreal moment in his career thus far:
When I cooked for the French and American presidents.
Three things on his bucket list:
I would like to jump from a plane, travel more and spend the night with Natalie Portman. (You wanted me to be honest, right?)
His latest obsession:
I eat peanut M&M's every night.
What he’s totally over:
Balsamic vinegar. Too many people are using it and it doesn’t make any more impact.
Number one reason for taking care of his body:
For my health.
Message he’d send to the world. (Only catch: It has to be 140 characters or less):
Eat, pray and love.