Michael Ferraro Heads To Paris To Spread The Mac & Cheese Gospel. Well, Not Quite.

Chefs love to travel — for inspiration, to experience the cuisines of other cultures or just to get away from the heat of their own kitchens. When they return, we hit them with some questions — where'd they stay, what'd they do and WHAT DID THEY EAT?!

Michael Ferraro is the chef at NYC's Delicatessen and macbar — two upmarket "comfort" food spots with a celebrity clientele that the Nolita location commands. Sure, he does a classic Rueben and buttermilk fried chicken that brings all the hungover boys (and girls) to the yard. But you'll see the chef's international inspirations in dishes like chicken mole tacos and mussels prepared Thai-style with coconut, lemongrass and kefir lime. Having just returned from Paris, he writes in about his time in the City of Light.

Main purpose of your trip?

I was filming at QOOQ's Studios. It's for a super interactive tablet launching later this year. I got to be the first chef, and American, to do this project. Had to also mix pleasure with business.

What was the highlight?

Being able to eat at a different restaurant for every meal of the day. The most exciting part of traveling is being able to have many culinary experiences.


From day one in the studio, I started filming. I was working until the last minute in New York and had to catch a red eye flight to Paris. Being jetlagged and filming almost nine hours straight took a toll. After being fully rested and familiar with the schedule, the filming became the highpoint.

What airline(s) did you fly and how was it?

American Airlines. The trip to Paris was not bad, but I recommend a direct flight. It was also something out of the norm of sleeping most of the flight.

Where'd you stay, what's your mini-review of the place?

While filming, I stayed in small boutique hotel outside of Paris. The hotel was only used to sleep since I was spending most of my time filming and going out.

What was your best meal on the trip?

One of my favorites was Frenchie Wine Bar. [Read: A Frenchie In Paris] There is a more formal side of the restaurant but also a more casual wine bar on the other side. I was excited to be able to enjoy simple, straightforward dishes like warm French bread with butter, sea salt and shaved truffle. We shared a couple of bottles of wine. The evening was quite memorable. The menu offers simple dishes and also had the most decadent foie gras I've ever had. They operated in a small kitchen, but the passionate staff shows through the product they're making.

Did you come across any mac in Paris?

Not yet... but I did film three signature Macbar dishes. Although most French people have heard of it, they have not met mac and cheese of this sort.

Next trip you are planning...

In 2011, I was a featured chef working two events at the St. Croix Food and Wine Experience. This April, I'll be solely judging so there will be plenty of time to work on my tan.