For much of the past decade, John DeLucie has been New York City’s most sought-after chef. As founding chef and partner of The Waverly Inn, DeLucie and his Italian-American take on classic cuisine attracted both the celebrity crowd and serious food fans, who were wowed by his original and eye-opening offerings. The Lion, DeLucie’s newest and most ambitious venture, has only solidified his stature as both a serious chef, and a culinary light that attracts the brightest of the glitterati.
The Lion has been called “eye-catching” (W Magazine), “the latest addition to the power pantheon” (Time Out New York), and “the edge of the volcano” (Gael Greene) that “has the media, fashion and pretty folks out in force” (Women’s Wear Daily). But it’s not the celebrity clientele that demands the most attention. In the end, it all comes down to John’s cooking—a passion that was instilled in him as a little boy.
DeLucie’s grandfather ran a fruit and vegetable market, and would bring home a bounty of fresh produce for his grandmother to turn into meals showcasing boldly flavored seasonal foods. Those early taste lessons left a lasting impression: Although John tried his hand at a few 9-to-5 jobs, he eventually gave in to his natural culinary curiosity, first taking courses at New York’s New School for Culinary Arts, and then getting his first food job, chopping 40-pound bags of onions in the back room of Dean & DeLuca. After a tour of Europe’s great cuisine centers—France, Italy and Spain, DeLucie began to sculpt his own cooking style, fusing modern cooking techniques with European flavors. Upon returning to the States in 1990, John landed a job in the kitchen of the groundbreaking Southwestern eatery Arizona 206, which received 3 stars from the New York Times. In 1996, he took over at the venerable seafood restaurant Oceana. Today, DeLucie’s style is as distinctive as it is universally praised, and The Lion is its apex:
“The menu derives from DeLucie’s expertise in simple, wonderful unhip American specialties…that have made his work such a hit.”
- Vanity Fair
“The biscuits are ethereal, the asparagus with soft boiled egg lushly sensuous.”
- Gael Greene, Insatiable Critic
“Dry-aged Delmonico steak arrives beautifully blistered, thick as a book, with a pitcher of silky bearnaise.”
- Time Out New York
“A standout menu includes traditional Italian-inspired dishes all brought to the table in…a perfect presentation.”
“DeLucie clearly had a good time coming up with his menu, and a lot of the dishes are as good as the room is fun….The place bubbles.”
And in honor of his success at keeping rock and roll royalty well fed, in 2009 DeLucie became the first Celebrity Chef honored at the MTV Movie Awards (an award he claimed again in 2010).
DeLucie has been featured on Entertainment Tonight, the Today Show, the CBS Early Show, Martha Stewart and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and in Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, Town & Country, New York Times and Saveur. His memoir, The Hunger: A Memoir of an Accidental Chef (2009) has been called “a delightful book” (Salman Rushdie) and
“the best memoir from a chef since Kitchen Confidential” (Jay McInerney). As a writer, DeLucie’s work has also appeared in The New York Times, Black Book and Gotham.
A New York native, DeLucie lives in Greenwich Village, just steps away from The Lion.