Rising Star Chef Gabriel Kreuther of The Modern - Biography
New York, NY
Raised on his family’s farm in a small village north of Strasbourg, Gabriel Kreuther was always surrounded by the fresh local produce and seasonal game of his native Alsace. As a young child, he so impressed his mother with his varied questions about the family’s daily meals that she took it upon herself to teach him everything she knew about cooking. During school vacations, when most children avoid work of any kind, Kreuther loved helping out at his uncle’s bustling hotel and restaurant in the nearby mountains. At barely 12 years old, Kreuther was changing sheets, washing dishes, delivering luggage, and more. And it wasn’t long before he found the kitchen. During these years, Kreuther recalls that he witnessed first-hand the discipline required to run a successful restaurant. “If you want to get somewhere in this business, you have to really work hard.”
Work hard he did. Kreuther attended Strasbourg’s École Hôtelière, maintained his summer job at his uncle’s, and received a sanctioned four year apprenticeship. Not only that, he bested 170 other apprentices to win the coveted “Concours National du Meilleur Apprenti Cuisinier de France – Fernand Point,” a highly competitive national contest which determines the “Best Kitchen Apprentice in France.” It would be the first of many accolades for the young chef. A work exchange program brought him to Washington D.C., specifically to the tutelage of Edmond Folzenlogel at Le Caprice, where he worked for 18 months. After fulfilling his one year military obligation in France, Kreuther returned once again to pursue his culinary ambitions. Posts at Michelin-starred restaurants in France and Switzerland led Kreuther to develop a mastery of French cooking, using native herbs, plants, and other ingredients, organically grown on the premises, to enhance the native flavors of the dish.
When he finally arrived in New York in 1997 (ten years after his “Best Apprentice” win) Kreuther was more than ready to engage the fast pace and high expectations of the metropolitan dining scene. From the iconic La Caravelle, Kreuther moved to Jean Georges, to work under eponymous chef and fellow Alsatian Jean-Georges Vongerichten. During Kreuther’s tenure as chef de cuisine, Jean Georges maintained its four-star status conferred by The New York Times, one of only a handful of restaurants in New York with that distinction. The restaurant also received Exxon-Mobil’s Five-Star Award, among numerous others, and was named the “second best restaurant in the United States” in the October 2001 issue of Gourmet magazine.
Kreuther left Jean Georges for his first solo venture at Atelier in The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park. As head chef he received accolades from every major New York area food critic and major food and wine publication. Catching the attention of prolific New York restaurateur Danny Meyer—perhaps for being one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs” in 2003—Kreuther was tapped to helm the kitchen of Meyer’s latest venture, The Modern, where to this day he oversees a menu with sophisticated French roots and a decidedly—and appropriately—modern execution of classical techniques.