John DeLucie understands hunger…and how to satisfy it. The chef-owner of The Crown and The Lion, founding chef of the Waverly Inn, and co-author of The Hunger (with Graydon Carter) tells us about fresh mozzarella, where he eats and, yes, where he does the groceries...
WHEN COOKING AT HOME FOR GUESTS...I'm inspired by what's seasonal and fresh at Gourmet Garage, Citarella, The Chelsea Market... I like pasta. I like fish. I like everything. If I see wild salmon, that's what it'll be. If I go into Bonne Italia and see a fresh cut pacari, it'll be that.
FOR LAST MINUTE MEALS...I have frozen sauce in the freezer that I've made and I always have dried pasta and garlic on hand, so I'll usually just throw a pasta together. I also eat a lot of broccoli, so I always have some in the fridge.
MY FAVORITE RESTAURANTS (OTHER THAN MY OWN)...My neighborhood go-to [in the West Village] is Sant Ambroeus. Their food is underrated; it's very delicious. I like Ballato's on Mott Street a lot. I love the owner.
THE BEST FOOD EXPERIENCE I'VE EVER HAD...When I was in Italy, I stumbled upon this little solumeria and there was mozzarella that was just made. I grabbed some flatbread that they had just baked in this ancient stone oven, and I went out and sat on a rock overlooking the bay of Naples.
MY FAVORITE SNACK FOOD..."Official" favorite snack food is nuts. But unofficially, pizza.
NO, I DON'T WATCH COOKING SHOWS...I get my fill of cooking on the job. I like to watch The Voice . It's like a little microcosm of life. You get up there and if those chairs don't turn around, it's like Oh my God. It's heartbreaking! I'm hooked on it.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING ON GOSSIP GIRL ?...It was the most fun ever. Great staff. Great director. It was really weird for me to be in that scenario acting, even as myself, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.
MY FUTURE BOOK PLANS...I want to do another book, but it takes years for the experience to pile up. At some point, maybe a cookbook.
John DeLucie photographed by Noa Griffel at The Crown in New York