The best of French in New York interview: chef Vincent Tournayre, Carte Blanche New York
A few weeks back I had the pleasure of attending a pop-up dinner for chef Vincent Tournayre’s Carte Blanche. Born and raised in Rillieux la Pape, a town just outside of Lyon, he has honed his talents at some of the best French restaurants in London, Paris, and New York City, including the famous Daniel.
His new catering venture, Carte Blanche, aims to bring the elegance of French food to your very own party or New York City event.
Chef Vincent took the time to speak with MaVieFrançaise® about his goals, his new business, and his love of New York City.
Vincent, how would you describe yourself in three words?
Curious, dreamer, obstinate.
Being from Lyon, the food capital of France, what inspired you to become a chef? Why did you decide to move to New York City? Why not Paris? Or stay in Lyon? What does NYC offer young French chefs that other cities might not?
My inspiration is that I always love to eat good food and I love to cook and see people happy around my table. It’s a good way to make the world smile.
I didn’t plan to make my life in New York but when I was working in London, I received a call from Daniel and when you’re 22 and you have one of the best restaurants in the world calling you, you have to go.
At first I didn’t like New York, but after a few months I completely fell in love and now I can’t imagine myself somewhere else. One of the reasons is because I love to travel and you can find the entire world in one city and I love that. In New York City everybody has a chance, it doesn’t matter how old you are, or where you’re from; if you work hard and fight for it you can make your dream come true.
How did you decide upon the name Carte Blanche for your catering business? What is your vision/goals for Carte Blanche?
I chose Carte Blanche because in French it means do whatever you want, no restrictions, so that is the idea of my company, it doesn’t matter what the customer wants, I will make it happen, and my goal is to become one of the best catering companies in New York City.
How does spearheading a catering business differ from working in kitchens like Daniel?
The catering business is completely different because every day you cook a different menu, you work in a different place and your relation with the customer is much closer because you customize every menu and every party.
The schedule is different too, you work when the customer wants you to work so it can be anytime of the day – there is no restriction – you can’t say sorry we’re closed.
What is it like being a young French chef in NYC? Is there pressure to always create something new and unexpected?
Being a young chef in New York City is very exciting because things can move very fast, you have to work hard and never stop believing. The competition is tough but it’s a good motivator to keep thinking about new dishes, new concepts and never play it safe.
It’s amazing the diversity of style, products and ideas you can find in New York, it’s really a paradise for the food lover. Doesn’t matter what you like you can find it! And it’s the same for everything and from my point of view that’s why New York is so amazing, there is everything for everyone and no limits.
Tell us your favourite place in Lyon and New York City:
To eat…La Villa Florentine.
25 Montée Saint-Barthélémy, 69005 Lyon
52 Irving Place, 10003 New York
To drink…La Cave de Cécile.
12 rue Longue, 69001 Lyon
Experimental Cocktail Club.
191 Chrystie Street, 10002 New York
To shop…La Part Dieu.
17 rue du Docteur Bouchut, 69003 Lyon
5th Avenue, 10021 Manhattan, New York
To play…A walk in le Parc de la Tête d’Or.
Main entrance: Place du Général Leclerc, 69006 Lyon
The Empire Hotel Roof Top.
44 West 63rd Street, 10023 New York
To go for a day trip…Le lac d’Aiguebelette.
Route Est du Lac/D921D, 73610 Lyon
Six Flags roller coaster park.
1172 State Route 9, 12804 Queensbury, New York
Thank you Chef Vincent, for taking the time to speak with MaVieFrançaise®.
Chef Tournayre’s next pop-up dinner in NYC will be Thursday June 20th at 168 Bowery New York, NY 10012.Image Credits:
All photographs by Adrienne Mansard