Courtesy of David Escalante

The iconic Columbus Circle restaurant announces its third chef de cuisine since opening in 2004.

August 09, 2017

New York City’s iconic establishment Per Se is making a big change. Corey Chow, will take over as the new chef de cuisine, AKA the one who calls the shots (that is after owner Thomas Keller, of course). Following Jonathan Benno and later Eli Kaimeh, Chow is the third chef to hold the position since Per Se opened in the winter of 2004. 

California-bred Chow has certainly done his time, a decade in this Keller kitchen to be exact. Beginning as a commis (or junior chef) he slowly and quietly (aside from this coverage of this promotion there’s not much press about the guy) worked his way up drawing inspiration from the cuisine of his Chinese-American past. Before joining the Keller crew, Chow worked at Alan Wong’s in Honolulu, later moving to New York to diversify his skills at NoMad and the now-shuttered Torrisi Italian Specialties. This means that along with a Chinese-American influence from childhood, he has Hawaiian, Italian and American bistro fare on lock. That doesn’t sound like a bad combination to us.

And we assume that Keller hopes Chow might help to smoother over the blowback that followed January 2016’s disastrous two-star review in The New York Times. Although most restaurants would be thrilled to have a two-star rating, or a review in the Times at all, most restaurants don’t charge $325 for a nine-course tasting. Critic Pete Wells lamented that his experience “rang[ed] from respectably dull at best to disappointingly flat-footed at worst,” calling Per Se “grand, hermetic, self-regarding [and] ungenerous.” Ouch!

This isn’t the first attempt from the Keller team to alter perceptions. Per Se hosted a Kids Eat Free Day last September and invited patrons under 30 to discounted meals on two occasions.

For the sake of good food, we're wishing Chow the best of luck (and certainly wouldn’t say no to more discounts).