Chef Jean-Gorges Vongerichten and his New South Street Seaport Concept


A native of Alsace, France, Jean-Georges Vongerichten became enraptured by the allure of cooking at a very early age. After his initial apprenticeship, he went on to work under renowned chefs throughout southern France and Asia. His training in a wide range of styles, techniques, and approaches has helped him create his distinct approach that now defines the dishes he creates: culinary masterpieces that merge unusual combinations of flavors as they forsake the conventional boundaries of regional cooking.

In 1997, Vongerichten opened his flagship restaurant, Jean-Georges, at 1 Central Park West. Since then, he has become one of the most well-regarded chefs and prolific restaurateurs on the planet. He has now opened 30 restaurants around the world, all of which are thriving and perpetually adding to the Jean-Georges empire that began here in New York. The first Jean-Georges was awarded three Michelin stars—and still has them all—and has continually earned four stars from The New York Times. The restaurant’s wide acclaim revolves around Vongerichten’s ability to blend French, American, and Asian styles into a culinary experience that is singular, refined, and dynamic. The menu at Jean-Georges is constantly in flux, as the dishes served here are built around the freshest ingredients available at any particular time. And the location doesn’t hurt its appeal, either; the restaurant’s large floor-to-ceiling windows provide expansive views of Central Park and Columbus Circle, adding significant local charm and ambiance to the space. Frank Bruni of The New York Times has described Jean-Georges as an eatery of “accessible elegance,” and the description is apt. The food is exquisite and remarkably well prepared, and the high-end atmosphere is wonderfully balanced and welcoming rather than pretentious.

As noted above, the immediate and phenomenal success of the first Jean-Georges location prompted the rapid expansion of Vongerichten’s empire in New York and beyond. As of 2015, it includes 11 restaurants in the Big Apple, including the acclaimed ABC Kitchen downtown, a beautifully vibrant space widely known for only serving food made from the absolute freshest and chemical-free ingredients. Many of the herbs and greens used here come directly from the restaurant’s rooftop garden. SoHo’s Mercer Kitchen has also cultivated quite a reputation for itself as a hip and stylish industrial space that serves delicious and diverse American fare.

Most recently, Vongerichten has set his sights on South Street Seaport with what promises to be his most ambitious project to date—a 40,000-square-foot food market and restaurant. It’s not surprising that such an innovative restaurateur would choose South Street Seaport for a new venture, as its offerings are rapidly expanding on all fronts. With new Wall Street condos rising to meet the sky each day and the significant bolstering of the local retail sector and culinary scene, the port is the ideal location for this type of ambitious project, which will include the famed chef’s first foray into designing and building a food market. In addition to the market itself, Vongerichten will open a seafood restaurant on Pier 17. In the near future then, a short walk from nearby luxury residential buildings such as 101 Wall Street will lead not only to a phenomenal new eatery but a dynamic food market designed and opened by one of the world’s most renowned chefs. Thanks in great part to such exciting additions, Southport Seaport continues to blossom into one of the most dynamic and intriguing neighborhoods in the city.

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