Chef Name: Ronny Emborg
Title: Executive Chef.
Awards: Winner of Culinary Star of Europe, 2002.
Winner of Chef of the Year in Denmark, 2007
One Michelin Star, Restaurant AOC, 2009.
One Michelin Star, Hotel d’Angleterre, 2013.
Two Michelin Stars, Atera NYC, 2015.
How old were you when you started cooking professionally?
I started working as a prep cook when I was 15.
What’s your earliest and fondest first memory of food?
For me the most important food memory was when the chef at the first restaurant I worked in showed me how to butcher a chicken. Before that I had only seen either a whole chicken or seen it already broken down. That was a great moment for me and led me to think about things in a different way.
Which chefs inspire you most and why?
I can’t say that I have a favourite or most inspirational chef. As a young cook, I took all the opportunities I could to travel to other countries and stage in different restaurants. Naturally I learned a lot about the chefs’ unique styles of cooking, but more significant for me was seeing the different approaches to managing their kitchens and running the businesses.
What are your two favourite cookbooks and why?
Kokkebogen. It is the book that we use in culinary school in Denmark. It teaches and shows the right way to make sauces and soups, cook animals, etc. It’s a great resource. I also love pretty much all of the El Bulli cookbooks. I spent six months there learning and I think the books have a lot to offer.
Which two ingredients could you not live without?
Lemon verbena and cucumber.
What is your favourite comfort food to cook at home?
Rye bread, which is a staple in Denmark. Since Rye bread is not nearly as popular in the US as it is in Denmark, I love to bake it at home with my family and prepare it in classic Danish styles.
If you could eat at any Michelin star restaurant in the world today, where would it be and why?
Noma. I would love to see the new space. I always like to see what they are creating. They always execute at a high level and have a great drive in everything they do.
And who would you take as your guest?
My wife Marlene or my friend and partner Matt Abbick.
What do you look for in a good chef?
A good chef needs to be a positive person and has to be able to handle all the classic skills, but most importantly a good chef needs to be happy in life.
What advice would you give to chefs starting their career paths now?
My advice would be to know that if you really want this career, anything is possible. There are a lot of great opportunities and generous people in this industry. You just have to grab it.
Ronny Emborg is Executive Chef at Restaurant Atera.
Address: 77 Worth Street, New York, NY 10013, United States.
Telephone: + 212 226 1444