Sebastiaan Zijp: There Is No Laughter in Paul Liebrandt’s Kitchen

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Photo: Melissa Hom

Josh Ozerksy is now a Time columnist and a “Master Hamburger Seminar” teacher, but his most entertaining gig continues to be as host of the Mr. Cutlets radio show. Yesterday, Sebastiaan Zijp (who took over Bar Blanc from Cesar Ramirez) discussed his time in the kitchens of David Bouley and Paul Liebrandt, neither of whom sound like anyone’s dream boss. Regarding Bouley: “He has his way and everyone else has to catch up to him.” For example: “Finding out at 5 p.m. on a Friday night that there’s a private party you have to go to and he takes everybody’s mise en place for your Friday night and you have to run around and do everything all over again and you got 120 people coming in half an hour.” Like Zijp says, these things happen, but Liebrandt sounds like a different story altogether.

“Paul taught me boldness and arrogance,” Zijp says. He goes on later: “He’s very, very talented — he knows what he’s doing. He’s got a very good style and very good sense and but also very … I guess probably the closest to working for somebody if I was to work in Europe in the sense that you’re the cook; you’re the grunt; you work, and you don’t laugh, you don’t talk, you don’t own anything … it’s like you’re almost in the army; it’s very different than here in New York and he’s still very structured in that sense … In my first week I laughed at one of his jokes and he said, ‘You don’t know me well enough to laugh at one of my jokes.’” Ouch.

The Mr. Cutlets Show [Heritage Radio Network]