Celebrity Chef Gets Back in the Market
He might be best known for stunt-eating cobra heart and raw seal while the cameras are rolling, but Anthony Bourdain's career started in the kitchen. And now he's getting back into the restaurant game.
The former chef at Brasserie Les Halles and host of "Parts Unknown" is teaming up with New York entrepreneur Stephen Werther to open a large-scale global food market in Manhattan. Werther, the CEO of Wink Retail group, gave few details of the project, but said the market's opening is dependent on the completion of a new building. The New York Post hypothesized the market's home could be in the new 3 World Trade Center building, or on Manhattan's far west side, in the planned Hudson Yards redevelopment project.
Bourdain confirmed the project:
"I am indeed working on this project--carefully assembling a dream list of chefs, operators, street food and hawker legends from around the world--in hopes of bringing them together in one New York City space."
The vision Bourdain seems to be working with--Singapore-style street-food, which is served out of small stands--is spot-on trend-wise. Five years into the food truck trend, street food could use rethinking. And the creators of the Brooklyn Flea have shown the model works--at least for one day a week, outdoors--with their Smorgasburg, an outdoor weekend food market comprised of local vendors. And even as everyone is eye-rolling at the "artisanal everything" infatuation, the retro and European feel of farmers'-market shopping couldn't be hipper.
As of next year, Manhattan will have no shortage of giant indoor markets, though. There's Chelsea Market, Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich's Eataly, and, as of next year, there'll be the French-focused food court Le District near the Financial District.
How consumers will react to this new saturation of markets remains to be seen, but Bourdain and Werther are eager to market-test their ideas--and are springing on another retail trend of the moment to do so.
"We are ready to go with the concept, so we are going to be doing some very cool and unexpected pop-ups between now and the opening…showcasing different parts of what will be incorporated into the final big market," Werther told The Post.
CHRISTINE LAGORIO-CHAFKIN | Staff Writer | Senior Writer
Christine Lagorio-Chafkin is a writer, editor, and reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, and The Believer, among other publications. She is a senior writer at Inc.