About The Chef.
PHILIPPE ROUSSEL, Executive Chef, Café D’Alsace
Experience speaks for itself and few chefs working today can speak as loud as Philippe Roussel. A third generation chef who hails from Brittany, Philippe Roussel has been working in kitchens for 30 years. Introduced to the culinary world by his father, who was a chef and restaurateur, Roussel attended the École Hotelière in Rennes before making his way through the most respected kitchens in France. He started his career with a two year apprenticeship at the Michelin two-star “Le Lion d'Or” in Liffre, before moving on to the Michelin three-star “Troisgros” in Roanne, one of the worlds greatest restaurants. He later began work at the Michelin-starred “Château de Marcay” in Chinon. While waiting for a chef de partie position at the world-renowned and Michelin three-star “Les Près d'Eugénie” of Michel Guérard, Roussel was invited to New York by Daniel Boulud, who was then at “Le Régence” at the Plaza Athénée Hotel. Soon after, he received word from France; Michel Guérard wanted Chef to come and work with him. Roussel returned to France to work with Guérard at “Les Près d'Eugénie”. Chef Philippe Roussel excelled in his new position, but in his heart he knew he would one day return to New York.
And he return he did. After serving as Executive Sous Chef at “Windows on the World”, he graduated to Executive Chef at “La Metairie”, where he received two stars from Brian Miller at the New York Times. He continued on to open the wildly popular “Chelsea Bistro & Bar”, which earned two stars from the New York Times and virtually put Chelsea on the map. Later he became Executive Chef of “Montparnasse” and “Park Bistro”, and also put in a year as Sous Chef at the New York Times Four Starred “Daniel” for good measure.
Roussel has been pleasing palates all over New York for the last 23 years, and now he is running the consistently busy 2-star “Café D’Alsace” (located at the corner of 88th street and 2nd avenue) which is owned by Simon Oren who knows a thing or two about brasseries. Here Roussel feels he has come home again. Even though he is not from Alsace, his father loved Alsatian food, and many of the recipes that Philippe has developed are direct results of what he learned from his father. Traditional French cuisine is very important to Chef Roussel which is why in addition to the classic Alsatian dishes such as Choucroute Garnie, Tarte Flambee and Baeckeofe he adds Choucroute De Poissons, Trout Almondine and a classic Cassoulet of white beans, duck confit, garlic sausage and foie gras. All of his sausages, including the Duck sausage and Seafood sausage are homemade, and he takes great pride in their flavor. To round out the menu he offers Bistro standards such as black angus Steak Frites, a mouthwatering Burger, Moules Frites steamed in Alsatian Pinot Blanc with shallots and basil, and a perfectly grilled 12oz. dry aged Sirloin Steak Au Poivre. Chef Roussel uses seasonal fruits and vegetables in his cooking, and organic produce whenever possible. “Café D’Alsace” has a multiple award winning wine list specializing in Alsatian wines but featuring great wine from around the globe. To complement this “Café D’Alsace” has a fantastic beer list (and a beer sommelier) with over 100 different beers which pair well with the Alsatian cuisine specialties.
A chef this talented can also be as creative with sweet dishes and Chef Roussel does not disappoint. His Mignardises (assorted traditional Alsatian cookies) are addictive, and his Caramelized Apple Tart is one of the thinnest in New York. Chef Roussel also prepares a tantalizing Chocolate Tart served with crème anglaise and fleur de sel. If you’re lucky you’ll catch one of Chef’s dessert specialties, a Pear Feuillete, pears layered with crème legere and puff pastry, that never fails to delight.
Chef Roussel is proud to call Café D’Alsace his home, and it’s one that he plans to stay in for quite some time.