For 2011 New York Rising Star Chef Jesse Schenker, childhood’s major focus wasn’t found in the toy store, school yard, or even in the deep recesses of his own fantastical imagination. His focus was in the kitchen; little Schenker was interested in food—deeply interested. And growing up in the epicurean variety-pack that is Florida, Schenker’s appetite only grew. So he began requesting menus from his parents’ dinners out. And unlike non-culinarian kids of his own age group, busy collecting action figures and the like, Schenker began collecting cookbooks. His collection—like his culinary skills—has since grown (to around 350 books).
Schenker’s first food job might have been at McDonald’s, but the chef went on to stage at some of New York’s most illustrious restaurants, including Eric Ripert’s Le Bernardin and Thomas Keller’s East Coast outpost, Per Se. Schenker went on to work at Gordon Ramsay at the London before finally opening the temple to his own gastronomical dreams, Recette.
With Recette, which opened in January of 2010 when the chef was a whopping 27 years old, Schenker has a forum for his own unmitigated creativity. A contemporary urban restaurant, Recette is the kind of place where comfort meets attitude and indulgence meets sophistication. It’s as much an expression of Schenker’s personality as his culinary perspective, blending his love for refined technique with the worn wood simplicity and old-school familiarity of the classic neighborhood restaurant.