Chef Daniel Eddy is well-known in food circles, but we think he’s got the makings of a big-time celebrity chef. Eddy, formerly of the popular and cultish Spring restaurant in Paris, is now the executive chef of Rebelle, which just earned its first Michelin star. That’s quite an accomplishment for a one-year-old restaurant considering that iconic city spots like Gramercy Tavern and Gotham Bar and Brill have that ranking too.
Eddy, who was Spring’s chef de cuisine, helped usher in a new style of French restaurant and cooking in Paris, where the menu provided modern takes on classic dishes, the ambiance was more Brooklyn than Right Bank, and where l’addition never left you reeling.
Here we catch up with Eddy to talk about his latest gig at Rebelle.
Where are your from? New York City.
Did you always want to be a chef? Not always. After two years of college I realized the path I was on wasn’t going to materialize into a career. Out of left field my mom suggested culinary school. Before making the decision to go, I decided to do an apprenticeship. As soon as I got into the kitchen, it clicked for me. Mom knows best, I guess!
How do you compare Parisian tastes (when you were at Spring) with what diners want at Rebelle? The cooking style in Paris is more about subtlety. Diners want to taste the true flavor of each ingredient; they also use much less salt. New York is more about bold, forward flavors. Sometimes the star of the plate or main ingredient gets over-powered by the intensity. We also love our salt!
What was your favorite place to eat in Paris (beside your own restaurant)? Le Bal Cafe. I would go there religiously every Sunday. The food, the energy, and the space are all great. It’s also unique compared to other spots in Paris.
What’s your favorite dish on the menu at Rebelle? Our Scallop and Summer Squash!
Favorite dish of Rebelle diners? I they’ve taken a strong liking to the Fluke with Brown Butter and Crispy Capers; and the Roast Chicken, potato confit and sorrel.
Where do you like to eat when you’re not at Rebelle? Uncle Boons, Wild Air, Contra, Roberta’s, Prime Meats, Frankie’s 457, Lucali’s—in that order and and all in one night!
What’s the one dish that tells whether a chef is good or not? I believe that restraint is one of the biggest signs of skill. Knowing how to edit yourself is very valuable.
Favorite breads and where you buy them: Roberta’s sourdough and She Wolf’s miche are two of my favorite loaves in New York. If I’m in Paris, the Pain des Amis from Du Pains et Des Idees is a real treat.
Which farmers’ markets do you like? I’m a big fan of the Union Square Farmer’s Market.
People are very careful about their diets these days—how are you accommodating special needs? I like to think of each particular request as a challenge that I problem solve—it makes it more fun. The menu at Rebelle has something for everyone be they vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian—so when if a diner comes in with an “unusual” request, they’re made to feel appreciated, not out of place.
What do you eat for lunch or dinner? Definitely depends on the day and the weather, but I very often lean toward something light. Especially in the summer. Grilled vegetables with fresh herbs, or a whole local fish, with some olive oil and lemon. A salsa verde is always on hand to dress both.
What is your signature dish? The Roast Chicken, the Leek Vinaigrette, and the Cured Fluke
Favorite cocktail: I love a Negroni.
Favorite wine: That’s impossible to answer. It changes depending on the weather, my mood and and the food I’m eating. Now that it’s summer, Rose is in season. Bauhaus Rose from Renegat wines is delicious and hits all the notes of a perfect, refreshing rose.
Considering how diet and weight conscious everyone is, how did you develop your dessert menu? I think we are paying attention to portion sizes, and keeping ours a bit smaller than your average restaurant.
Any news from Rebelle for summer and fall you can share? Look out for a Lobster Roll, and maybe even a burger in the near future!