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In today’s Daily, we profile rising chef Matthew Lightner of New York’s Atera.
The books we saw downstairs — the Noma cookbook, Nathan Myhrvold’s “Modernist Cuisine” tomes (volumes one and three mischievously replaced by a thick “Foie Gras” hardcover), the Spanish “Diccionario Botanico para Cocineros” — give clues to Lightner’s philosophy.
This involves near-biblical product knowledge, something he picked up at Mugaritz under chef Andoni Luis Aduriz.
“You learn about what’s around you. You learn to perfect a product and you can continually build more dishes from there,” Lightner said when I met him the following day. “Master something, and you can make some really amazing dishes.”
This makes for mammoth expectations for a newly arrived chef. Add to it that Lightner’s got a slightly overblown reputation for being a forager (he’d rather be known for foraging as an accent on his cuisine, not a hallmark), and that here at the southern tip of Manhattan, he’s surrounded by a lot of concrete.
Photos courtesy of Atera/by Brian Zak for The Daily
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