Chef Todd English Dishes on Dîner en Blanc


Chef Todd English shares some wisdom from this year’s Dîner en Blanc, a magical summer soirée as always!

Photo by Hal Horowitz
Each year, I have the sheer pleasure of speaking with Chef Todd English at Dîner en Blanc. Just like every year, Chef English does not disappoint — not in food, presence or his delicious menu for the special dinner party.
Since I know my mother will be reading this, I have to share a little of my mom’s feelings for Chef English. First, each month I get a package in the mail. Now for me, this is not unusual because with Downtown Magazine, products come in each and every day. But I always know when I see HSN on the box it must be from my mom.
Secondly, she does her due diligence before she purchases anything, but have always like Chef English’s cookware — however, if she does not like it, she will be the first one of the phone when Chef makes his appearance on one of the cooking shows.
When I tell you she knows his products in and out, that’s not me exaggerating. Little did I know, that at one day at Dîner en Blanc, I would have the pleasure of meeting this handsome, kind enthusiastic chef.
So mom, this is for you!
Todd English and Grace A. Capobianco

Do you ever get tired of Dîner en Blanc, this being its 7th year?
Todd English: No, no. Come on, how do you get tired of this? This is amazing. I love a good party, and this is the greatest setting. I love something unique and fun. It’s all about the glamour, the romance of it. There are a lot of good additives and adverbs you could use to describe what this event is.
I just found out that it’s even more exclusive than I thought, but then again, it has a fun quality to it too. You want to have more people enjoying it, but…
How would you feel if you were not the chef for Dîner en Blanc?
TE: I’d feel left out, I’d be darn… I almost missed it this year, because I was supposed to be away.
How many chefs hankering to have this position with Dîner en Blanc?
TE: You know, I don’t know, I don’t think… I would say if they knew what this is all about… Then maybe, but I got a feeling that they don’t know what this is all about… So, I’m the guy, there’s no one better that me.
How did you plan the menu for this year?
TE: I wanted to do American this year, so all the American picnic stuff. I’m opening an American market in Times Square, so that’s what I wanted to do — to really represent this fun cuisine. We will have to get some of this year’s over here, it’s lobster, corn on the cob, brussels sprouts, and so much more.
How much freedom do you have when creating the menu?
TE: Depending on the guys that cater it, I have to work with them.
Photo by Hal Horowitz
What do you have coming up that you can talk about?
TE: I have the American Market opening in December on New Year’s Eve in Times Square, so I will be there for New Year’s.
Do you have any new products coming out, my mother will be pleased to hear about for HSN?
TE: I work with Evine, which is in Minneapolis. I have a new steam oven and a dinnerware innovative blender.
How do you come up with your new creative appliances and cookware?
TE: I’ve been around for a long time. I’ve been doing this a long time, so I’m sort of a geek — I love technology, I love bringing new technology to the kitchen, whether it’s in food preparation, or in the food itself, or the machines we use to make the food and bring to the consumer. I want to make it easier and more nutritious for everyone.
Photo by Grace A. Capobianco
How long does it take to get something from concept to the shelves?
TE: Usually about a year, sometimes two.
Last question, what is your favorite NY location for DEB — and you do not have to say Lincoln Center just because we are here?
TE: Downtown and not just because you’re here! I love talking with you Grace, you’re the best and I look forward to working with Downtown Magazine.
Photo by Grace A. Capobianco
And we surely look forward to working with Chef English, too! For next year’s Dîner en Blanc, and for our upcoming issues.
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Grace Capobianco, CEO/Publisher of Downtown Media & Production was born to be a visionary. She has spent the majority of her life working, developing and marketing innovative media products that not only engage and inform but also bring entire communities together. Utilizing her personal vision as a professional guide, Grace started her first company, Tropical Publishing, when she was just 27 years old and from this moment on, she knew that entrepreneurship was her passion. On a perpetual quest to bring innovative and relevant news to communities, she also created, developed and published the first ever Chamber of Commerce magazine for the Palm Beaches, The South Florida Office Guide. Evolving within the realm of publishing, she moved on to launch Up The Coast magazine in the 1980’s, a guide to Jupiter, in north Florida, where the population aggrandized from 9,000 to more than 70,000 today, and then continued to hone in on niche markets with the launch of publications like Alternative Medicine and NewBeauty. Simultaneously, she launched ATSI, a telecommunications company, which sold Mitel and Siemens products to her publishing clients. The idea of Downtown Magazine NYC was born for Grace in the wake of the devastation of 9/11. A Lower Manhattan resident at this time, Grace saw firsthand the incredible sense of community the neighborhood had demonstrated during these trying times, as well as its immense strength and perseverance. She explored every angle of launching a magazine that would speak to this community but initially felt the timing was just too soon. It wasn’t until 2010 that Grace felt the community was ready to hear its voice and launched Downtown Magazine NYC.