Industry Insiders: Daniel Rose, American in Paris

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The hottest young chef in the city of lights, with a pocket-sized restaurant and a waiting list months long, has nothing Gallic about him. The raffish, good-looking Daniel Rose, who doesn’t even consider himself a real chef, hails from the Windy City. Chicago-raised Rose has trained in some of the greatest kitchens in the world (Bocuse, Meurice) and been surrounded by a media storm since opening his 16-seater, menu unique modern Spring in a gentrifying part of Paris’ ninth arrondissement. He recently came back from a research trip to Japan for inspiration.

Point of Origin: A hungry student in Paris turned hungry cook. Gourmandise is a powerful motivator.

What’s a typical day? Dinner preparation starts at 8:30 AM each morning. As we make a new menu every day we basically start all over again from scratch. There is also no refrigerator space to store anything for more than a few hours. While we are trying to cook, we also have to navigate our way through a steady stream of phone calls and visitors. Everyone from our friendly neighbors to lost vignerons.

Tell us a little about your team. Maire Aude Mery (my second) is ex Laurent, Pierre Gagnaire, and Chiberta. Talented, beautiful, and smart. Audrey Jarry (wine and service) is the daughter of a Champagne producer and amateur oenologue in her own right. Frighteningly precise palate. Disarmingly well informed. Impeccable taste.

Side Hustle: Just for the fun of it, I’m trying to get a bunch of very bit parts in movies filmed here in Paris. “Guy at Café No. 2″ — walk-ons, stuff like that. Cookbooks, like the upcoming 365 Days of Spring, TV shows, things in the works, hopes … I’ve put the TV show shooting schedule on hold to concentrate on cooking and on opening the new restaurant, but in addition to developing bubble gummy TV Food Network stuff, I’m also working on a series for PBS about food and cooking in France.

Favorite Hangs: I like to go to the Cloche d’Or with my girlfriend and coworkers — especially when Sylvain is there and especially after midnight. Big fan of Belleville’s Chinatown.

Known Associates: I don’t think anyone hangs at my restaurant. We’ve got everyone from other chefs to our friendly neighbors. Don’t forget Scallywagger, our neighbor’s friendly dog.

A little about the kitchens you’ve worked in? The Auberge des Abers in Lannilis with Chef Jean Luc L’Hourre was a real joy.

What happened in Japan? What did you learn? I ate a lot. I think I drank a lot, too. I think I learned to calm down.

Some favorite restaurants of your own ? I like A la Goutte d’Or in the 18th for chorba and brick for 5,50 €. I also like the bar at the Hotel Meurice for drinks.

An American in Paris doing business, how is it? Is it a business? Where do you get your produce? We have secret agents at Rungis [Market] that bring us the best stuff they can find.

Favorite dishes? Anything with ris de veau (sweetbreads) or pigeon.

Do you consider yourself a chef yet? No, even less than before.

Projections: Look out for a new Spring location, Spring 2009. Much bigger, but only 22 seats, with a cave à Champagne and lobster sandwiches during off hours. Somewhere in the 1st, and four times the surface area, but with only six more seats (22 instead of the present 16). More cooks, same no-choice menu, and some a toute heure surprises.

What are you doing tonight? I’m having dinner at Laurent, with the prettiest girl in the world. I’m hungry!