How Fashion Has Influenced the Food of a Top NYC Chef

“I just want to eat beef and wear heels,” chef Angie Mar told FN. She’s not being dramatic. Scroll through her Instagram and you’ll see just as much red from the bottom of her Christian Louboutin heels as you would from a 60-day dry-aged prime rib.

Fashion has been a major influence on her food since she can remember.

“My mother always says I’m the same person that I was when I was 7 years old. That’s when I was stealing Food & Wine and Vogue off of her dresser,” she said. “One of the things that I love most about fashion is that it’s very much like food. I can decide to be one person one day and somebody else the next.”

For Mar, who typically cooks in Adidas sneakers, forming a dish begins with an idea — not the protein. “It’s less about the food and what I’m actually cooking and more about the idea that ends up on the plate.” (She’s been known to watch runway shows from Galliano and YSL and stroll through Bergdorf Goodman for inspiration).

Chef Angie Mar, Beatrice Inn
Angie Mar, wearing Louboutin heels.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Johnny Miller

When she’s not in sweat suits and sneakers, glamour exudes her and that luxury is felt within her New York restaurant, The Beatrice Inn, which she bought in 2016. (Frequent guests include fashion folk, such as Diane von Furstenberg and Valentino Garavani.)

However, The Bea is much more than a sceney spot in downtown Manhattan. It’s a city institution that once operated as a speakeasy in the 1920s, a family-owned Italian restaurant, followed by a nightclub. It was then owned by publishing magnate Graydon Carter.

Now under Mar, it’s certainly a coveted reservation to snag, but its unapologetic personality is what makes it an unforgettable experience that goes beyond dining. And Mar is telling the story or her journey in her debut cookbook, “Butcher + Beast,” which officially launched today.

“I just wanted to create a restaurant that was representative of New York,” she explained. “To me, my version of New York, the New York I fell in love with, is one that’s all encompassing and embraces all walks of life. I wrote about that in the book. New York embraced my oddities and neurosis and it does that for a lot of us. For me, everything truly fantastic starts at the dinner table. That’s the environment we wanted to create. I just wanted people to be able to come and enjoy my food.”

Mar said it best. The Bea is unapologetic. She’s not creating food just to appease a crowd. She is creating her food, dishes she loves, dishes she would eat and dishes she ardently believes in — such as her signature roast duck flambé. (It’s the meal DVF and Valentino indulged in at a New York Fashion Week event hosted during the restaurant’s grand re-opening, according to an entry in the book.) It’s also the dish closet to Mar’s heart as it was something she ate with her family during the holidays.

Beatrice Inn
The duck flambé, featured in “Butcher + Beast.”
CREDIT: Courtesy of Johnny Miller

“The idea of having this amazing dish from my childhood and being able to share that with my diners every night here is something very special to me,” she said. “Regardless if people can actually cook the recipes or not, it’s the story,” she said on the significance of her cookbook. “That’s the point. It’s less about the food and more about the lives and the people that are around our tables. It represents a New York that is dying, changing.”

“Butcher + Beast: Mastering the Art of Meat” is available for purchase now.

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