interviewed by Calum Donoghue, 28 March 2015
Cofounder of one of New York's leading lifestyle agencies, Phil Winser is the creative mind behind the design of three of the city's trendiest restaurants. With the help of fellow Brit and partner, Ben Towill, the duo has opened The Fat Radish, The East Pole and The Leadbelly.
The highly acclaimed Fat Radish restaurant has a Covent Garden aesthetic with local and seasonal organic produce at its core. QH caught up with Phil to chat about design and the ruthless NY restaurant scene...
The Fat Radish has a Covent Garden feel, what was the reasoning behind this? Does London have an influence on all three of your restaurants?
We referenced Old Markets of London because when we stripped the space down to its bones it had that feeling, this however, was just a small part of it. I like to design spaces taking the features of the existing space as a starting point so you are not starting with a blank canvas.
The New York restaurant scene is notoriously ruthless, as a Brit how did you manage to crack the game?
Wish I knew the answer to that! However, we have to work hard every single day on trying to improve and not become complacent. We are constantly working on new projects and I believe that keeps us interesting and relevant in both the NYC restaurant scene and abroad.
Your most recent project is the private dining space 58 Gansevoort, can you tell us more?
It was built for fun. Its set up as an apartment so people can feel at home. It can be used for all kinds of things. We are going to do some great collaborations with chefs from out of town in the spring.
How important is design to the success of your restaurants?
It is incredibly important. Every component in a restaurant is important to the success as it all needs to work seamlessly together to create the experience.
What is your favourite dish to cook at home?
The Sunday night pasta from our cookbook, The Fat Radish Kitchen Diaries (see a recipe from the book here). I love to cook at home and Sunday is when I get a chance to do it!
What is your favourite restaurant in London?
We are definitely looking at projects outside the city. Nothing is set in stone yet. I will definitely let you know though as soon as something is...
Where do you like to travel? Where should QH go next?
I love to travel when I can but not to one particular place. I spent time in Cuba and Brazil last year. Two countries I love very much.