Yesterday we chatted with Le Cirque chef Craig Hopson about his education and training. Today we change gears, as he reveals his drink of choice for a night out and why he’s moonlighting on cruise ships.
I read that Le Cirque has franchised onto Holland America cruises. Did you create the menu for that, too?
I worked with the chefs at Holland America, and they’ve come here to Le Cirque. We develop all the recipes and we photograph each dish, and then their chef converts it to their standard recipe. It’s Le Cirque food and the same recipes. We just convert their high-end restaurant into Le Cirque one night a week. But it’s a limited menu, with only three choices per category.
How do you keep the Le Cirque name fresh in younger people’s minds?
I’m always coming up with new ideas for the menu. In the bar we’ve got more of a brasserie-style menu with a lower price point.
What are your favorite ingredients for spring?
I love the herbs like wild sorrel and lovage. And ramps and rhubarb. I also use a lot of peas and asparagus. It’s easy for a chef come spring because you just put some vegetables on the plate and it’s fantastic. A medley of spring vegetables on the plate is one of my favorite things. One of our new dishes is a lasagnette, which is an open lasagna with artichoke puree and spring vegetables.
What was the last great thing you ate?
I went to Telepan recently and the duck entrée with wild rice was fantastic.
What’s your drink of choice after a long night of work?
Wine or beer. I’m pretty simple.