Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, disputed creator of the molten chocolate cake and one of the most influential high-end chefs in the world, announced his intention to open a vegan, raw restaurant in New York City this spring.
In an interview with The New Potato, Vongerichten offhandedly said, "We're doing a food market that just opened, and then we're opening a vegetarian restaurant in the spring – 100% vegetarian, raw, and vegan." Later in the interview, he mused, "I think food as a science is not for me. Food for nutrition, food for well-being, food for nurturing your soul – yes." Jean-Georges doesn't mention animal welfare in the interview, perhaps understandable given that his other restaurants serve meat and fish.
Vongerichten may have a steakhouse, but he's been following the less-meat trend lately; his most recent success, ABC Cocina, is a farm-to-table affair with a heavy emphasis on local produce, and his other restaurants are known as vegetarian- and vegan-friendly.
Opening an all-vegan restaurant is another instance of Vongerichten paying attention to trends; Forbes even named "high-end vegan" one of its top food trends for 2013. Far from stir-fried tofu, restaurants like Crossroads in Los Angeles and Blossom in New York are pricey, boundary-pushing establishments that cater to the food-obsessed, not the vegan who's desperate to find a place to eat. Vongerichten will be the biggest name to enter the space so far.