We caught up with recent Top Chef competitor Jamie Lynch in advance of his James Beard House event to find out where he eats around NYC, why he thinks a former cast-mate is a chef to watch, and where he eats around the city.
Top Chef fans don’t have to wait to see more from chef Jamie Lynch. The toque behind Southern resto 5Church—which has outposts in Atlanta, Charleston, and Charlotte—has earned four wins in a row on Last Chance Kitchen and is coming to New York City for a James Beard House event on Wednesday, February 8 (7 p.m.; member price: $135, public price: $175; tickets on jamesbeard.org), alongside chef Adam Hodgson of Charleston’s 5Church. Dinner guests will start off with hors d’oeuvres like King Crab with Bloody Mary gelée and smoked salt and beet-cured fluke with cucumbers and caviar before moving on to entrees like whiskey barrel wood-smoked Wagyu beef tataki with garlic chips and pickled chiles and winter squash salad with compressed stone fruit, tempura greens, and aïoli. For dessert? A PB&J composed of butter brioche with peanut butter zeppelin, ruby port spheres, and gianduja chocolate, complemented by a 5Church Signature Port Wine Hot Chocolate. Wine pairings are also available throughout the dinner.
We interviewed Lynch before the event to get his opinion on the best NYC ‘hoods for food, who he thinks is a rising-star chef, and how he makes a delicious yet surprisingly simple cacio e pepe.
What is your favorite place to eat in New York and what do you order there? JAMIE LYNCH:Nom Wah Tea Parlor in Chinatown. It has all the dim sum favorites: rice noodle rolls with spare ribs (chang fun), dumplings, shou mei, and soup dumplings.
In your opinion, who is a rising-star chef to watch in New York? JL: Silvia Barban—I cooked with her on Top Chef. She’s a very talented Italian chef with a background in Michelin-starred restaurants. Her fresh pastas are out of this world.
If you could have dinner with any New York chef, dead or alive, who would it be? JL: David Chang would be fun.
What New York City neighborhood do you think has the best food scene? JL: It depends on what you’re looking for—anywhere you look in NYC there’s phenomenal food. Chinatown has amazing ethnic hole-in-the walls. Or, if you’re going high-end, Columbus Circle—Per Se or Masa. And Tribeca has Locanda Verde.
What are you most looking forward to about the James Beard Foundation event? JL: Returning to cooking in New York at the James Beard House is a huge honor. Excited to show New York what I’ve been up to.
What kind of food does New York need more of? JL: I love New York because it’s full of everything. It’s got every type of cuisine you can imagine, everywhere. You can go out at 4 a.m. and get latkes if you want. That’s what makes New York so special—you’re not left wanting for anything.
Cacio e Pepe
8 oz. spaghetti 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter 1/4 c. pasta water 6 turns of fresh cracked black pepper mill 3 Tbsp. Parmigiano-Reggiano
Generously salt a pot of boiling water and cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. In a sauté pan, melt the butter with cracked pepper. Add pasta water and Parmigiano-Reggiano to the sauté pan. Stir with a big wooden spoon until it comes together and add pasta. Toss to combine. Serve immediately and garnish with additional cracked pepper and Parmigiano-Reggiano. I also like to top mine with chopped fresh chives sometimes.