Last Thursday, ICE students and alumni had a unique chance to get an inside glimpse into the life of one of New York’s most celebrated and well-known restaurateurs. ICE students and guests took part in an exclusive screening of A Matter of Taste with famed restaurateur Drew Nieporent. The documentary, first released on HBO in June, follows Chef Paul Liebrandt‘s career over the course of a decade.

Liebrandt received three stars from The New York Times for his work at Atlas in 2000. He then opened Papillon and spent several years as a private chef. In 2005, Liebrandt returned to the restaurant world at Gilt, where he stayed until launching Corton in 2008. Corton has now received three stars in the New York Times, two Michelin stars and a James Beard Award nomination. Liebrandt was recognized as one of Food & Wine Best New Chefs in 2009. A Matter of Taste tracks the life of the chef, following ups and downs and examining Liebrandt’s perfectionism and creative process. The film offers a rare peak what happens in the kitchen and the dining room of Corton.

ICE alum John Check (Culinary ’09) said the film was a very interesting portrayal of the chef, following him from his more-idealistic youth through humbling culinary career changes until he finds his style and voice at Corton. Check said, “ I appreciated that it was a realistic look at life on the line and the intensity of life in the kitchen.” The filmmakers collected over 300 hours of footage in the years that they followed Liebrandt, giving them some incredible footage of restaurant life.

The special screening of A Matter of Taste was followed by a Q&A session with restaurateur Nieporent. Nieporent is the award-winning restaurateur behind Myriad Restaurant Group. He forever changed Tribeca when he opened Montrachet in 1985 (at Corton’s current location), followed by widely acclaimed establishments such as Tribeca Grill, Nobu, Rubicon and Centrico. When discussing life in the restaurant world, Nierporent advised the students that the two most important things they could remember would be professionalism and confidence, saying those were key ingredients to a successful career in the food world. It was an amazing film and a great chance to look inside the New York City restaurant world for students at ICE.

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