Revolutionary Chefs

New York's best French chefs celebrate Bastille Day.

If the New York food world had royalty, then Jean-Louis Palladin, the chef and proprietor of Palladin, would be among its crown princes. So it was ironic when Palladin, along with his executive chef, Jean-Louis Dumonet, organized a recent get-together with his equally preeminent chef pals to celebrate a peasant revolution. The lineup of guests for the July 14 Bastille Day party--Alain Ducasse, the Michelin Guide's most-starred chef, who is opening Alain Ducasse at the Essex House this summer; Jean-Georges Vongerichten of Jean Georges; Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin; and Christian Delouvrier of Lespinasse--left almost every major French restaurant in New York in the hands of a sous-chef. For a few hours one rainy afternoon, the modern penthouse at The Time Hotel in Times Square, where Palladin's restaurant is located, was turned into a Place du Village. Instead of cooking the ultrasophisticated food he's famed for, Palladin put together a buffet of country dishes: artichokes with an olive-anchovy dip, a chicken-liver terrine, tuna with a chunky vegetable sauce and a clafoutis of summer berries. The chefs celebrated the anniversary of the French Revolution by eating, drinking and, of course, playing boules, the traditional bowling game of the French provinces.