'Nightline' Platelist: Michael Anthony

Anthony took over as executive chef there in 2006 and in 2007 was named "best new chef" by Time Out New York.

"It was incredibly inspiring to join a team at Gramercy Tavern," he said. "It's one of the longest standing culinary traditions in the country."

Gramercy Tavern has been one of the nation's most popular restaurants, and the recipient of numerous awards over the past decade. In 2005, Gourmet magazine ranked Gramercy Tavern as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, and it has consistently been named in Zagat as New York City's most popular restaurant.

Just this past month, both Anthony and Gramercy Tavern were nominated for James Beard Awards, a highly competitive culinary recognition. Anthony was nominated for the "Best Chef: New York City" and Gramercy Tavern for "Outstanding Restaurant." The winners will be announced in June.

Anthony's style at Gramercy Tavern blends the techniques he learned in France and Japan.

He makes a concerted effort to buy locally. Seventy percent of the ingredients used at Gramercy Tavern come from local sources and greenmarkets.

"The restaurant is based on seasonal ingredients and celebrating local producers, mostly because those are flavors that we've fallen in love with and want to reproduce. If we do our jobs well, we don't get in the way of that flavor," Anthony said. "There's a simple gesture of cooking foods -- combining flavors in a way that you would want to lean over to your friend and say 'taste this!'"

Even though he is now a veteran of the food business, Anthony admits its still "a bit of surprise and awe when you hit a great flavor combination."

While food might not have always been a passion for Anthony, it is now a central part of his life, embodying what he enjoys the most.

"It's adventure; it's excitement; it's our interest in connecting with people. Ultimately, food is a great connecter."

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