Craig Koketsu is the Chef/Partner of Fourth Wall Restaurants in New York City. The group is comprised of upscale restaurants including the flagship Smith & Wollensky location, Maloney & Porcelli, Quality Meats in New York City and Miami Beach, Park Avenue, and Quality Italian. Chef Koketsu began his culinary career in California after graduating from U.C. Berkeley. He served as the private events chef at Stars Palo Alto under Jeremiah Tower and Joyce Goldstein before moving to New York City to work at Lespinasse under Gray Kunz. When Christian Delouvrier took over as executive chef of Lespinasse, Chef Koketsu remained with the restaurant, ultimately becoming Delouvrier's second-in-command as chef de cuisine. He opened Quality Meats in 2006 and then opened Park Avenue, which was named among the top best new restaurants of 2007 by the New York Times, New York Magazine, and the New York Observer. New York Magazine also named Chef Koketsu among New York's top up-and-coming chefs.
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What is your earliest memory involving food or wine?
My maternal grandmother made the best waffles. She lived in a different city and we only saw her once or twice a year, but she would make waffles every Saturday morning. I can still smell and taste them. She would make mine extra light because I liked them soft and spongy so they would easily absorb all the salted butter and maple syrup I put on them.
If you've participated in the Festival before, what is your favorite SOBEWFF memory to date?
It’s always great to escape the brutal New York winter in February for the South Beach sun and sand. But my favorite SOBEWFF was in 2013 when Quality Meats won the “Best Dressed Burger” Award at The Burger Bash.
If you could cook with anyone in the world, who would it be?
I never leave home without my: