Chef Spotlight: Executive Chef Bill Peet of TAVERN ON THE GREEN
Bill Peet has more than 35 years of New York City fine dining experience, working in some of the city's most iconic restaurants. He spent 15 years as Sous Chef and Pastry Chef at Lutèce with André Soltner, and was then Chef/Owner of the critically acclaimed restaurant La Petite Rose. Bill was also Executive Chef at Asia de Cuba, Café des Artistes & Patroon. At Tavern on the Green, Bill harnesses inspiration from Tavern's historic past and his experiences in the fine dining world to execute elegant dishes with seasonal ingredients, that are both special and familiar.
Broadwayworld.com had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Bill Peet about his career and Tavern on the Green.
What was your earliest interest in cooking?
I always remember liking to cook. In Mrs. Green's 3rd grade at Staatburg Elementary, instead of a traditional book report, I made a banana cream cake (not a pie! but a huge cake) and did my "book report" on the cookbook where I found the recipe! A few years later, my mother worked as a secretary at The Culinary Institute of America where I eventually attended.
Who were some of your career mentors?
André Soltner, the Chef/Owner of Lutèce was a major mentor for my life and culinary career. I worked with him for 15 years three decades ago and we still speak at least once a week. He is like my father and taught me as much about food and about the restaurant as a business, management and how to properly lead a team.
What culinary styles have influenced your career?
I spent the first 20 years of my career in French culinary cuisine which formed the basis for my understanding of food. Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, simply grilled meats and fish. You can always change a style or sauce but the basics remain the same.
What do you consider the most distinguishing features of your work as a chef?
The most distinguishing feature of my culinary work is how I lead the people who create our amazing food. My ethos is to be a true part of the team, not just the head of it. Showing a new line cook by example, an approachable, open door policy for all of my staff and really teaching as we go. Better people management creates better food, through low staff turnover and decades long loyal employees who all share in our cuisine.
What is your favorite meal?
At this point in my career, a great burger is really satisfying. I've had the honor of tasting and creating the best of four-star cuisine but an amazing and simple burger is really a pleasure now.
Tell me a little bit about your restaurant for our readers.
I've been at Tavern on Green now for over 3 years and one thing that is great about our restaurant and menu are all the different foods we incorporate. The goal is for there really to be something for everyone. I love to have enough dishes where you don't have to "settle" for an option but instead there are three or four options that you want to order so you have to come back. We put a tremendous amount of time into each dish and hope to see guests return regularly as a result. We cook out of a beautiful open kitchen and I love to walk around the dining room to interact with our guests who range from local New Yorkers to those visiting from across the country or around the word.
Tavern on the Green is located at 67th Street and Central Park West, New York, NY 10023. For menus, hours, reservations, and more information, visit https://www.tavernonthegreen.com/ or call 212.877.8684.
Photo Credit: Katie Burton