Fashion » SHO Time: Five minutes with chef Shaun Hergatt
 SHO Time: Five minutes with chef Shaun Hergatt

SHO Time: Five minutes with chef Shaun Hergatt

blog_sho_chef.jpgWhen chef Shaun Hergatt opened his upscale Asian-accented French eatery, SHO Shaun Hergatt, in New York’s financial district this past summer many food world naysayers predicted it would be a quick victim of bad timing. But while the New York Times has yet to run a full review (only a not very flattering Dining Briefs piece), Esquire recently named SHO one of the Best New Restaurants of 2009, Michelin rewarded it with a star and the new Zagat guide deems it “superb.” Hergatt chatted with us about his fans, his critics, and why he doesn’t regret opening a fancy restaurant half a block from the stock exchange in the midst of a financial meltdown.

To what do you attribute the mixed reception that SHO has received from the press?
It’s purely recession driven. A lot of reporters love to talk about the recession, they need some sort of story, so they say we’re very passé because it is a very fancy restaurant. But the one thing I can tell you is that Daniel and all of the four star restaurants in the city are banging with business again and I believe in the quality of our product. I’ve never followed trends. I’ve always followed quality. That’s the only thing that counts for me.
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How did you get started cooking?
My father was a chef and I’ve been in the kitchen since I was a young man. I should never have done it but I ended up becoming one too. I did apprenticeship in Australia and then I traveled and here I am in New York.

Why do you say you should never have done it?
I should have been a banker or something different but unfortunately it’s a passion of mine. I think you always struggle with your own life sometimes and wish you did something else but I love what I do and I’m sort of like, how do you put it, trapped in my own circumstance. I can’t do anything else!

What are your favorite places to eat when you’re not working?
There’s a little restaurant called Kanoyama on 2nd Avenue and 11th Street. It’s a sushi bar and every Tuesday he has fresh fish flown in from Japan. I like to go and eat there a lot.

What do you hope for the future of the restaurant?
With the new ratings coming in our business has increased dramatically and I just foresee that we’re going to be very successful. But with the recession we have to be patient. All I can say is that I’m going to be in the kitchen every day and making sure our guests have amazing food.

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