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If you really are what you eat, then some women will take seconds of whatever Gwyneth Paltrow’s having. At least that’s the business model behind Broadway East, a new restaurant in the no-man’s land between Chinatown and the East River, helmed by Paltrow’s former private chef, Lee Gross.
Now that he’s taking his skills public, the toque is expanding his macrobiotic repertoire to include dishes like Nasketucket Bay oyster gratin and roasted chicken à la Stras Square. When possible, the kitchen will use only organic and seasonal ingredients sourced within 500 miles of New York.
The uniforms hail from even closer by — they’re made from recycled cotton and designed by British designer Andrew Buckler, whose showroom is down the street. Tabletops and ceiling beams were once a city water tower and even an entire wall in the rear of the restaurant is covered in green, leafy plant life.
Gross spent two years studying macrobiotics at the Kushi Institute in Beckett, Mass., which is where Paltrow’s assistant found him and commissioned him to work for her boss. “Gwyneth was into yoga, heard about macrobiotics and was looking for someone to prepare food for her,” he explains. “I interviewed on a Friday and by Tuesday I was cooking lunch for her and Madonna.”
One detail of the operation that might not jibe — at least initially — with Gross’ healthy-living fans is a beer and wine bar tucked under the main dining room. “I can’t think of a lot of vegetarians who are big-time boozers,” Gross admits, before hesitating. “Actually, that’s not true.”