(August 15, 2013) NEW YORK, NY – The last tennis major of the year, the US Open is less than two weeks away. Before “showtime” at Flushing Meadows begins, there is a whirlwind of parties and events in New York City. One of the very special pre- US Open events is the BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis – where the tennis world meets the culinary world to raise money for a philanthropic cause. This year’s Taste of Tennis is the 14th edition of the event with a special host – world No. 1 tennis player Serena Williams.
Among the chefs participating in this year’s Taste of Tennis is Harold Dieterle. Originally from West Babylon, on New York’s Long Island, Dieterle, who was the first winner of the Bravo television network’s reality series Top Chef owns three restaurants in New York City – Perilla (2007), Kin Shop (2010) and his most recent start-up The Marrow (2012).
Dieterle’s call to a culinary career began at a young age. “I was always around food. I was always interested in watching my family cook.”
“I was a pretty terrible student in high school and cooking was the very first thing that really focused me.”
Tennis Panorama News caught up with Chef Dieterle who is also a big tennis fan and a weekly player. He spoke about the connection between tennis players and “foodies.”
“There’s no doubt that the two worlds overlap a lot, Chef Dieterle said. “I think it’s no surprise that you’d see many of the same people on the sidelines at a tennis match that you’d see at a table at some hot restaurant; both can certainly cater to glamorous crowd.”
Dieterle will be making his debut appearance at the Taste of Tennis. So what made him decide to participate? “I’m a big tennis fan,” he said. “I’ve been playing since high school, and I love to get out and hit when I have the time.”
“I’m really excited to do it. I’m a fan of cooking and tennis so it’s a perfect match.”
What do tennis players have in common with chefs? “Stamina – being able to pace yourself and not wear yourself out,” said Dieterle. “And chefs by nature like (tennis) players are very competitive.”
Asked about which players might make good chefs he said: “I would love to cook with Rafael Nadal. I’m sure I would I would have some pretty good food.”
When asked to compare his cooking style to that of a player, past or present the chef said: “I’m a finesse guy, so I would have to say John McEnroe and I’m also left-handed.”
“I also like to bark a little in the kitchen, but the bark’s bigger than the bite.”
He compared the opening of a new restaurant to winning a tennis major: “The opening of a restaurant can be compared in the tennis perspective to one of the grand slam tournaments, especially in New York. You’re getting in front of crowds, getting a ton of pressure with everybody coming in and you are working crazy hours where the kitchen “stamina” comes into play.”
As of now Dieterle plans to make a special “light and fresh” scallop dish for the event.
Follow Chef Dieterle and his restaurants on twitter – @HaroldDieterle , @PerillaNYC, @KinShopNYC and @TheMarrowNYC. Follow @TasteofTennis on twitter and for more information http://www.tasteoftennis.com/
Karen Pestaina is the Editor-in-Chief of Tennis Panorama