M. Wells’s Hugue Dufour, Part Deux: Food Eroticism, Being Inspired by Dog Food, and Why You Can Never Have Too Much Foie Gras


Yesterday, we talked to Hugue Dufour, chef-owner of M. Wells in Long Island City, about what makes his diner so special and when we can expect to be able to eat dinner (and drink wine) there. Today, he talks food, sex, and why New York needs more foie gras.

What do you feel is missing from the dining scene in New York?

I’ve said it many times: There’s a place for more foie gras. Definitely. It’s reserved to the high-end French restaurant, like Jean Georges and Le Bernardin. Some people will do it in small portions. So, for Americans, it’s like something to be feared. It’s expensive, it’s liver, and it doesn’t matter if it’s good. I want to democratize foie gras, serve it in huge portions, have an entire loaf to share for four people. You can use foie gras as you would use butter, and put it wherever you want. I’ve been cooking foie gras more than all the chefs in New York tied together. That’s what I like, so, why not?

Do you foresee yourself opening more restaurants?

That’s the game, right? You open, and a year after, you have two; two years after, you have three. It goes like that. Seems like no one has only one restaurant. I would rather have a lineup from my place to the river of people waiting than have 10 restaurants. I have fun cooking. I want to be behind the line as long as I can. Right now, I don’t think about [expansion]. I just want to focus on this restaurant. I want it to evolve and to change [along with me]. So, I don’t see that right now. But, who knows?

Will you have a strong focus on wine?

I’m working on having wine on tap. Because I think it’s funny to have beer in bottles and wine on tap. And it’ll be a good wine on tap that’s really affordable. We’ll pour a little glass so you can have many with your many courses. That way your wine will stay cold so you can enjoy it in the best condition. And we’ll have a lot of great bottles, too.

Do you have a favorite food movie?

I don’t know. Ratatouille? Actually, I really enjoyed La Grande Bouffe. When they all commit suicide eating … I think it’s the most beautiful cooking movie ever made. It’s flesh to flesh with hookers and stuff like that. It’s wine, food, and sex all related. I don’t want to go too far with that … but you can find flesh in the human body and flesh in food, too, and wine as well. I kind of like this idea. It makes perfect sense.

Do you have favorite cooking music?

Not really. I quite enjoy the silence when I’m cooking.

Are there any foods you miss from Montreal?

What I miss from Montreal the most is the market. You have the farmers’ market here, but it’s not the same. Here, it’s easier to buy from suppliers that deal with thousands of different farmers to get what you want. In Montreal, you would go to the market and you could get whatever you want for cheap. Plus, you meet people and it’s a nice time. As far as food from Montreal, you can pretty much find what you want here. I would like to have guest chefs from home working with me once in a while, putting their stuff on the menu. Oh, and I wish I could play hockey this winter. But I won’t have time.

Will there be any dishes from Au Pied de Cochon on the menu? Like duck in a can?

I’m not opening a Pied de Cochon II here. I would never play around with that. But I am going to get “the can,” [which I’ll use for other things] so I hope I’m not going to get in trouble with the health department for that. I want to make spaghetti Bolognese in a can, so people can just eat straight from the can. It reminds me of dog food. I kind of like it. They can just dump it in a bowl if they don’t feel comfortable. My idea, if possible, is that people can just have one to-go, catching the train at the Long Island Rail Road just next to the diner. The foie gras tamales are coming soon, as well. I want to have a raw bar on Fridays. There’s lots of good stuff coming. I don’t even know about tomorrow.