Shea Gallante
24 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
(212) 529-1700


StarChefs: How old are you?
Shea Gallante: 31

SC: What inspired you to start working in a pizzeria at age 14?
SG: It was one of three jobs available in small town USA for a kid under the age of 16.

SC: Why did you attend CIA? Would you recommend culinary school to aspiring chefs today?
SG: It was a no-brainer for me. I figured I’d look around a bit, but I grew up in Dutchess County. Yes, I recommend culinary school. But, the right intentions make a world of difference.

SC: You’ve worked with Pino Luongo, Lidia Bastianich, Fortunato Nicotra and David Bouley. Who do you consider your most influential mentor? Why? What did they teach you?
SG: I learned from each. Pino was a multi-unit operator, but he had small company values. I learned about management and consistent numbers from him. From David I learned finesse, technique. I learned how to operate on a higher level, honing my palate. He taught me that everything is a component on a plate, whereas at Felidia, we braised and did many one-pot meals. Lidia is a great businesswoman; a smart employer. And, from Fortunato Nicotra I learned a lot about creativity, ingredients.

SC: We read in your bio that while working in Bouley’s kitchen, you “explored the avant-garde techniques of the Spanish masters.” Which in particular? Have you spent any time in Spain working with them?
SG: I learned many techniques from David when he came back from his trips in 2000-2003.

SC: Which chefs do you consider to be your peers?
SG: Any young chef. Neal Gallagher, Johnny Iuzzini, Brad Thompson, Wylie Dufresne, Galen Zamarra.

SC: Are there any secret ingredients that you especially like? Why?
SG: I try to exploit every possible seasonal ingredient. Black winter truffles, fresh fish, mushrooms.

SC: What is your most indispensable kitchen tool? Why?
My combi-oven. Nothing can replace it. Best tool any kitchen can have.
SC: Is there a culinary technique that you have either created or use in an unusual way? Please describe.
SG: I more try to focus energy on making my food taste better. I’m very meticulous in execution. But, I operate in a spontaneous way; I like to put things together on the spot.

SC: What emerging trends do you see in the industry?
SG: It’s getting more technical; more molecular cooking. There’s a focus on commercial grade products applied to an entrepreneurial level: gums, stabilizers.

SC: What is your favorite question to ask during an interview for a potential new line cook?
SG: What are your goals? What stage do you think you’re at in your career? What are you going to accomplish working for me? If somebody asks how much the job pays- I don’t want that person.

SC: What tips would you offer young chefs just getting started?
SG: Moving around a lot is a bad thing. One year isn’t enough to learn from any good chef. I’ve been in New York for nine years and have had three jobs. You need time to learn.

SC: What are your favorite cookbooks?
SG: I have hundreds of them. Some of the latest I’ve acquired are pastry books: Iginio Massari. I just bought Marino Cedrini’s sushi book.

SC: Where do you go for culinary travel?
SG: Japan—one of the purest places to eat simple food.

SC: What are your favorite restaurants in NYC – not necessarily fine dining?
SG: Masa, 66, Omen, Sushi Yasuda, Oceana, I don’t get out much.

SC: Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10 years?
SG: Working for my unborn child! In five years I hope to have a few restaurants.

Shea Gallante
CRU | New York City

What do you get when you combine the business acumen of Italian chef/restaurateurs Pino Luongo and Lidia Bastianich, and the culinary finesse and technique of four-star French chef David Bouley? The answer is Shea Gallante, whose modern European cuisine at Cru has given oenophiles much more to consider than just the expansive, double-volume wine list. While Gallante prides himself on meticulous execution, there is nothing rote or mechanical about his dishes. Rather, they reflect spontaneity and originality without being esoteric.


Maine Lobster with Turnips, Salsify Poached and
Mango Butter

Chef Shea Gallante of Cru-New York, NY
Adapted by

Yield: 4 Servings


    Lobster stock:
  • 4 (1¼ pound) lobsters
  • 1 spring rosemary
  • 3 cups extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
  • 1 carrot, diced small
  • 1 stalk celery, diced small
  • 1 Spanish onion, diced
    Salsify and turnips:
  • 2 stalks salsify
  • 2 medium turnips
  • 1 ripe mango
  • 2 cups lobster stock
  • ¼ cup sweet cream butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup chanterelles
  • ¼ cup minced shallot
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • ¼ cup port wine
  • ¼ cup vegetable stock
  • 1 sage leaf
  • Extra virgin olive oil
    Red currants:
  • ¼ cup red currants
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 star anise
    Bok choy:
  • ¼ cup minced shallot
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup baby bok choy
  • ½ cup vegetable stock
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 spring tarragon, finely chopped

For lobster stock and lobster: Pull the claws and tail off of the lobsters. Put them in an appropriate size sautior with rosemary and cover with olive oil. Reserve.

Split the bodies in half, sear in a hot sauté pan, then add carrot, celery and onion and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer, skimming, for about 30 minutes. Strain and discard solids. Yield 2 cups.

Preheat oven to 220°F. Slowly cook reserved lobster in oven until the claws and tails are just cooked through. Pull the meat from the shells; the claws should be intact with the knuckles. Reserve.

For salsify and turnips:
Cut the salsify and turnips into batons, keeping salsify in water as cut to prevent oxidation. Peel the mango and cut into ½-inch pieces. In a small saucepot combine the lobster stock, butter and mango. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until mango is tender, then puree in a blender and pass through a chinois. Return the mango butter to the saucepot, add batons of salsify and turnip and poach at a low simmer until just tender. Reserve.

For chanterelles:
While the lobsters are in the oven, clean chanterelles and cut to uniform size. In a sauté pan sweat shallots and garlic; add the chanterelles and cook until liquid given off evaporates. Deglaze with the port wine and ¼ cup of vegetable stock. Add the sage leaf and reduce to sauce consistency. Finish with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil.

For red currants:
In a small saucepot combine the red currants, sugar, orange juice and star anise. Gently simmer until currants are tender and liquid is of sauce consistency.

For bok choy:
In a small saucepot sweat minced shallots in a little olive oil and add the bok choy and cook until tender. Deglaze with vegetable stock and finish with butter.

To serve:
Warm all of the garnishes and the lobster, adjusting seasoning as needed. Put a streak of mango butter and a few batons of vegetables on top. Arrange the lobster neatly in the middle. Place a few pieces of bok choy and currants around dish. Sauce with the chanterelle mixture.

   Published: April 2005