Josh Capon, the well-known chef, calls himself the “King of Hospitality.”
Josh Capon can not help himself.
The 51-year-old celeb chef and restaurateur, identified for his award-winning burgers, frequent TV appearances and larger-than-life persona, has to feed anybody who units foot in his well-appointed Tenafly residence.
That is what the quick-talking, quick-moving, quick-smiling father did after I and one other reporter got here to interview him. Within the ethereal white kitchen of his 5,000-square-foot residence, Capon ready a multi-course lunch of grilled flatbreads topped with artichokes. Contemporary mozzarella cream and oven-roasted tomatoes; Greek salad tossed with an exquisite charred lemon French dressing; Completely grilled shrimp and really candy lemon.
“This is a tip,” he stated as he sprinkled recent basil on the flatbread, “In order for you super-sweet lemon, grill it.”
As is his wont, the so-called “King of Hospitality,” a title agreed upon by associates, neighbors and colleagues, made room for lots of every little thing. “I do not know tips on how to make a salad for 3 folks,” he admitted.
No downside. Capone stuffed the leftovers into paper meals containers (he has a cabinet filled with them for such situations) and referred to as his neighbor, who rapidly got here. She left carrying a giant smile and carrying a buying bag filled with Karma Capon.
“I simply wish to make folks glad.” Capone stated.
Culinary Awards and a brand new restaurant in Vegas
Not unhealthy for somebody who has been within the hospitality trade for greater than 1 / 4 of a century, cooking and/or managing eating places, together with Aureole (13 Michelin stars) and the Lenox Room with Charlie Palmer; Park Avenue Café with world-famous Fort Lee-based chef David Burke; and ultimately his personal locations together with Lure Fishbar, Bowery Meat Firm, and Burger & Barrel, all in New York Metropolis. At the moment, he’s a associate in VCR Hospitality Group which is making ready to open, amongst different eating places, Flyfish Membership, the primary personal eating membership in New York Metropolis the place membership is bought by way of NFTs or non-fungible tokens, a kind of cryptocurrency.
Capon is especially excited concerning the opening of Capons, his eponymous burger restaurant within the Fontainebleau Las Vegas district now beneath development. “This can be a huge deal to me,” stated Capon, a seven-time winner of the NYC Wine & Meals Competition’s Burger Bash. “I am very proud.”
He believes being hospitable is a part of his DNA. “You’ll be able to’t pretend hospitality,” he stated. “It is in your blood. I am a folks individual.”
He stated meals brings folks collectively. Furthermore, he loves meals.
“All I wish to do is eat and all I wish to do is shed some pounds.”
He swims in his yard pool most mornings. He takes care of his backyard. He performs tennis. However what he does on a regular basis is prepare dinner. He and his spouse, Lori, usually entertain family and friends at their residence.
Capon prefers entertaining at residence reasonably than going out to eating places. A number of patronized by the couple embody Olar Noso in Northvale, The Hill in Closter, Roost in Sparkill, and Mel’s Butcher Block in Tenafly.
“I should not say this as a chef, however it is best to entertain at residence,” he stated.
Two kitchens in Tenafly
Their home in Tenafly has two kitchens, one indoor and one out of doors. He loves them each, particularly the big kitchen island, double-wall ovens, and out of doors grill. They moved in seven years in the past after dwelling in a cramped residence in New York Metropolis. “I needed to go away New York,” Capon stated. “Lori did not need that. I needed a yard, a barbecue, recent air, common colleges.” One morning he introduced: “That is it. I would like out.” He stated Lori thought he was asking for a divorce. Though he made it clear as rapidly as he may, he stated, “You have not spoken to me but for a day.”
Immediately they’re each thrilled to reside in Tenafly. “Transferring right here was the most effective determination we made. Tenafly is a superb place to reside. I really like the folks and the neighborhood.”
The sensation appears to be mutual.
“As soon as he moved right here, he turned a fixture in the neighborhood,” stated Lauren Foreman, a good friend and neighbor. “His dinner events are wonderful. He is aware of tips on how to carry folks collectively.”
“Our total household’s tastes have expanded due to Josh,” Forman continued. “He actually understands how meals can carry folks collectively. He is greater than only a meals character, he is a unifier.”
Jason Brosian, his good friend of 40 years, was the beneficiary of Capone’s feasting and camaraderie.
“He is the final word entertainer,” Brosian stated. “He makes everybody really feel welcome. He has a manner of caring for folks and making them really feel particular. He is the king of caring for everybody.”
Capone discovered tips on how to please, host, and prepare dinner from his father, Sam Capone, a college instructor and business actual property dealer who beloved to entertain on the household residence in Pomona, New York. When associates came visiting, his father would put together appetizers “earlier than most Individuals had heard of tapas,” he stated. “He referred to as them ‘nibblers.’ I bought the meals bug and the present of the gab from him.”
Whereas in highschool, Capone labored as a driver on the native Our Gang Inn café – and rapidly demonstrated his cooking and interpersonal expertise. When the top chef failed to point out up one morning, Capon, then 16, took cost of the kitchen. The younger prepare dinner not solely ready pancakes, eggs and potatoes, but additionally made apple pies and despatched them to all of the common clients. “It was slightly amusing,” he stated. The shoppers have been glad.
On the College of Maryland, he was making ready dinner for his associates. “They might pay me $20 every, and I might store and put together the meals they preferred.” However what he wasn’t making was As. “I wasn’t performing academically. I used to be floundering.” Along with his dad and mom’ encouragement, he left faculty and went to culinary faculty at Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island. “I discovered my calling in life,” he stated. “It simply blossomed.” He graduated in 1994 and went on to work with high cooks comparable to Charlie Palmer (“He was nice”) and David Burke (“He taught me tips on how to get pleasure from meals”). Via Burke he was in a position to journey and work in the most effective eating places in Europe.
“I killed pigs and butchered them. I used to make blood sausages from their blood. I used to be pulling cliffs from the woods earlier than I knew what they have been. I used to be making recent pasta. I used to be cooking seafood that I had by no means seen earlier than. It was wonderful.”
When he returned to america a 12 months later, he labored at Restaurant Matthew, celeb chef Matthew Kenny’s restaurant in Manhattan after which Canteen in Soho, which was ultimately changed by Decrease Fishbar, one in every of 4 eating places he co-owned as associate in Matthew Kenny’s Restaurant. Mercer Hospitality Group. He labored there for 20 years, then coronavirus hit and his eating places closed, giving him precious time to take inventory of his life.
“I spotted I wasn’t glad,” he stated. “This can be a demanding job. I used to be working 5 – 6 nights per week. I wasn’t seeing my kids. I used to be longing to spend extra time with the household.”
“Cooking with Capones”
He left the restaurant group, and frolicked together with his household; studying books to his 14-year-old son, Max, and serving to him together with his homework; He and his 17-year-old daughter, Amanda, began the day with a enjoyable and energetic social media cooking present referred to as Cooking with the Capons. (His daughter was dancing, and he was following her.) He additionally provided customized digital cooking lessons and ultimately in-person cooking lessons as nicely.
“I used to be sharing my ardour and data,” he stated. “It has been very rewarding.”
Whereas keenly conscious of the horrific devastation wrought by the pandemic, he stated, “COVID was the most effective factor that ever occurred to me.”
All of the whereas, he continues to please audiences together with his laid-back, enjoyable, and warm-hearted appearances on The Meals Community, Rachael Ray, TODAY, and Good Morning America, amongst others. He started returning to the restaurant discipline, with a brand new group of eating places. At the least 5 eating places are anticipated to open subsequent 12 months.
Two years in the past, his father, 82, died after a fall. Capone, who’s Jewish, hosted a shiva, a usually somber gathering held to mourn a loss. There was nothing gloomy about this shiva. For the uninitiated, it was referred to as “Shiva Palooza.”
“My father stated you possibly can mourn my loss, however you’d higher have a good time my life,” Capon stated.
Capone adorned his yard with tiki torches and blasted Anita Baker songs (his father’s favourite); There have been burning fireplace pits; He poured a number of tequila pictures and served a number of scrumptious meals. “Individuals who had locations to go, restaurant reservations, for instance, got here again to hang around,” he stated.
It should not be stunning. In any case, the King of Hospitality made positive everybody had fun.
“That is what I like to do,” Capon stated.