Chef Dan Kluger & daughter Ella – ABC Kitchen, NY

by KORIN on March 23, 2012

We had the privilege to meet with Chef Dan Kluger of ABC Kitchen and his 6 years old daughter, Ella. We took lots of pictures of them cooking together and got to asked them questions about their knives, yes even little Ella’s Misono Kid’s knife!

Chef Dan Kluger:
Nowadays my cooking life is so different. I do less prepping, more helping and more office work.

When did you give the Misono Children’s Knife to Ella?
I gave it to her about two years ago. It’s something that I do all the time, and she sometimes asks, “can I help you?” It was a way to get her involved and develop her hand eye coordination. Also, whenever she helps make something we can get her to eat it and she’s more inclined to eat things she wouldn’t normally try. Now whenever I’m cooking, she always asks, “can I use my knife?”

<Chef Dan asks his daughter> Do you like your knife?
“I like to use it, because I like making stuff with it.”

Any problem of difficulty with her having the Misono kid’s knife?
No, but there is always the fear. It’s easier to show and teach an adult how to cut, but it’s different when you’re trying to teach a child, since their motor skills are still developing.

Why did you decide to get into hospitality industry?
I went to Syracuse University, then I kind of fell into it while I was a nutrition major. I worked the summer in a bakery and I really enjoyed all of the restaurant classes. When I was starting out, there was this guy who did this lecture series at Syracuse University, his wife had passed away and he created an Auditorium and a lecture series in her name. He used to bring people like the CEO of Bed Bath and Beyond, the CEO of Macy’s, David Bouley, Charlie Palmer, Danny Meyer, all those people will come and talk. Danny Meyer and I hit it off… And I mean ‘why? How?’ I was just a student, but we hit it off, and he told Danny Meyer, “I want you to give him an internship.” So I went to intern with Danny Meyer in Union Square Café and I graduated… and after that whole thing, I went back to Union Square Café. Everything happened for a reason.I had an internship at the Union Square Café and hung out with Michael Romano. While I was working there and they offered me a position in the kitchen, and I took it thinking it’s the time in my life where I should try different things.I met Jean Georgeat the Farmer’s Market in 2008, we started talking and he asked me what I was doing. I have never spoken to him before, just seen him at work, but I definitely recognized him. He told me to come interview with them and about two weeks later I signed on to work with them. Originally, I was supposed to be a chef at the Mark hotel. In waiting for the Mark to open I helped them open five or six restaurants around the country. While I was helping the room service open at the Mark Hotel, ABC Kitchen was really starting to come to flourish. We started talking about this back in July, and now it was September… So I thought ‘alright, this is where my heart is at,’ so I moved over there and I’ve been happy ever since… You know, whenever I speak to people, I always try to stray away from the cliché ‘everything happens for a reason,’ but I look at my path and I see that everything has been for a reason.

Do you use Asian ingredients a lot?
You know… we use some, and I personally am very addicted to the Asian flavors. I find authentic Asian foods almost never disappointing. But I think we strayed more towards Italian flavors and a little simpler.

What types of knives had you had?
I’ve had eight or so different types of brands. I’ve had Misono, MasamotoMasanobu & etc… I’ve have about 8 or 10 Masanobu knives. Someone also gave me a Glestain in 2010 as a parting gift from Tabla.

How did you find out about Korin?
In 1997 when I first started cooking before you guys were open to the public. I was one of those guys that picked up every cook book I could find, every equipment catalogue I could get my hands on… And I mean, I don’t know what joy I found in looking at a catalogue with cake pans in it, but for some reason it was important, same with knives. I’m sure I found it in some magazine, or one of the guys in the kitchen said “oh you gotta go down to this place,’ and it was before you guys renovated.Whenever I got some Christmas money, I would go out and buy a Christmas present for myself. Then every promotion I got my gift for myself I would buy a new knife, which is how I ended up with so many knives and each time I moved up a little bit.All of these are nice but to pick up a knife and get to work, this [Masanobu] is the one I’ll always go to. I’m lucky that my wife gave it to me one time.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lenore Kaplan March 24, 2012 at 3:58 am

Enjoyed reading this article. Dan is a delightful person and I am thrilled to say he is a cousin. first time I have seen Ella and hope to meet her in person. ABC is tops in my dining…I live in La Jolla, Ca. and manage an ABC stop whenever in NYC. Food, decor, atmosphere all top notch.


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