Chef de Cuisine, BLT Market
“My mother’s ‘tomate Provençal’–that is my fondest childhood food memory,” says David Malbequi, Chef de Cuisine at Laurent Tourondel’s latest New York City eatery, BLT Market. “It’s a simple stuffed tomato–so perfect.” Yet it is something David hasn’t yet attempted to re-create in his kitchen. “No. I could never do it like my mother!”
In His Own Words:
Who are your mentor chefs?
I have three: Michel Guérard, Jacques La Nusse, and Daniel Boulud.
What kind of a kitchen do you run?
A balanced kitchen: During service, we must be very focused–we push. But during mise en place (preparation), we are more relaxed. Working at Daniel is where I first experienced a New American
kitchen using French techniques.
How do you conceptualize a dish?
I consider the ingredients first. We only use seasonal items at BLT Market. So after determining the product, we experiment. We are continually fine-tuning the specials. Every month, my kitchen has something new to learn and master.
What is your most overused ingredient?
Butter; I am French!
What is your favorite spring ingredient? Morels.
What advice can you offer home chefs?
Read Auguste Escoffier. That is the basis of everything in the kitchen. After grasping that, you can do anything and add your own style to it. Just keep an open mind.
What is your idea of an ideal meal on a summer day?
Visiting the greenmarket and making a salad–a tomato salad with feta, onions, olives, and toasted bread. It’s a simple, lovely dish.
Favorite coking technique?