Scott Conant has accomplished pretty much everything that a chef could imagine on their career bucketlist. However, with his new restaurant, Fusco, in New York City and cocktail pop-up, Sorso, in Miami, it seems like there he is certainly not ready to slow down anytime soon.
This award-winning “celebrity” chef, started in the industry at a very young age by enrolling in culinary arts high school in his hometown of Waterbury, Connecticut. From there he went on to attend the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and make a name for himself at some famed New York restaurants before earning a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant at his first venture, L’Impero.
Winning oodles of top honors and awards in the industry as well as becoming a full-blown TV star as a judge on “Chopped” on the Food Network, and opening Scarpetta hotspots across the country, and being named one of “The Sexiest Chefs in America” by People Magazine, Scott Conant is undeniably one of the culinary world’s illuminati … but enough gushing, let’s go….
Drinking With Scott Conant
How did you get started in the business?
I started as a dishwasher in Waterbury, Connecticut. It wasn’t glamorous, but it was a start.
What is your current go-to drink order?
Definitely an iced triple espresso
So you’re a coffee fan, tell us more.
I love an old school espresso or a good cold brew coffee. I don’t have any go-to places, but I stay away from the big brands if possible and try to support family or independently owned businesses.
What is your hangover remedy?
A friend of mine told me the best remedy recently. Advil PM and lots of water, then sleep it off, wake up and take two more Advil PM and sleep even more. Genius!
Guilty pleasure, making no apologies vacation drink?
Depends on where I am. In the Caribbean, it’s a Piña Colada. Anyplace else, it is probably rosé.
What is your very last sip death row drink?
Either Casa Dragone’s neat or The Macallan 25.
Who is the best drinking buddy for a fun night out?
Aaron Sanchez is one of my favorite people anyplace. He is based in New Orleans now and I need to get there soon.
If you could have a drink with one person dead, alive or fictional, whom would it be?
Either Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi or Jimi Hendrix.
Favorite spots for …
Taking out-of-towners for cocktails for an “only in new york” experience?
Depends on the people, either Le Bernardin or Spotted Pig.
Romantic “let’s get it on” date night?
Bar Masa or Neta. Eating with your hands is sexy, I think.
A classic no frills / dive night?
Corner Bistro and drinks and burgers at Pete’s Tavern.
Wine pairing baller dinner?
Anything by Daniel or Jean-Georges.
Special shout to any bars that you always go out of your way to visit when you head into their town?
I always loved Angel’s Share in the East Village. Unfortunately, I don’t get out like I used to.
Tell us about the beverage program at your newest spot, Fusco?
We have some fun and easy cocktails, nothing crazy that takes 20 minutes to make; I can’t stand that. The wine list is both approachable and esoteric. We have a ‘sommelier picks’ page to guide people through a more manageable price point, so it isn’t intimidating. I personally don’t like feeling uncomfortable looking at a list that I can’t afford, I hate that pressure.
What is the most popular cocktail on your Fusco menu right now?
Definitely the Spiaggia. It’s a refreshing mix of vodka, rhubarb liqueur, bitters, citrus, and prosecco.
Any advice for aspiring young guns wanting to break into the industry?
I think a big part of it is discipline and work ethic. People always talk about how the younger generation doesn’t “get it” but I am not totally sure that’s true. I think they have their priorities based on a life balance. I wish I had that earlier in life.
Spill it …. shameless plug time what are you working on and excited about right now?
Right now, it is all about Fusco and letting people know we are here. It’s my only NYC restaurant and something I have been working on for a long time. I am so excited about what we are doing here. it’s approachable, fun, elegant and sophisticated.