French New York: Chef Daniel Eddy's pocket of Paris in the Bowery

The Journiest chats with the American Michelin-star chef about Psilakis, Ducasse, Passard, and the power of vegetables

Springtime is when New York City unravels from its icy shell; tulips peak out their vibrant heads, grilled street meats waft tantalizing scents in every direction, and a potpourri of tourists migrate here like sweet-singing birds, chirping in all sorts of languages. One of the most common species of foreigner in New York is from a nation that was America's first ally and remains a strong source of influence to this day: la France.

If American interest in France's election is just a small indication of our connection, there is a strong historical and cosmic exchange between the two countries. Just look at our two major cities, New York and Paris. Look at the expat movement, where Paris became an artistic new home to young Americans of the Lost Generation, disgruntled by the impact of World War I. Look at the iconic work of Parisian artist Vahram Muratyan, whose obsession with New York sparked a beautiful collection of illustrations. North America was another land of opportunity for the French, who had fled across the Atlantic seeking religious freedom as early as the 1500s. We have both been heroes of monumental triumphs and victims of heart-piercing tragedies. Our connection continues to grow over the fields of politics, education, business and more. But the best way to see the massive French influence in New York is in its food.

Chef Daniel Eddy Daniel Krieger

Meet Chef Daniel Eddy. The son of a Nicaraguan and an American, his logical career choice was to pursue French cuisine. Huh? Starting strong in the kitchens of Michael Psilakis, a chance opportunity to cook for a visiting French chef sparked his decision to go to Paris. There, he was transformed by the markets, by the lifestyle, and by the French cooking philosophy, which he brought back home to New York after three years. He opened up Rebelle in 2015, a nouveau French, frou-frou-less kitchen right in a neighborhood that you'd never expect: the Bowery. Chef Eddy is full of surprises.

Rebelle is a beloved space for both Americans and French alike, offering a refreshing reboot of classic French dishes infused with visual American flare. In anticipation of the opening of his new restaurant in Philadelphia, Chef chatted with us about his love of dichotomies in food and culture, his choice to abandon the roux, and how Paris is touching New York, neighborhood by neighborhood.

[Editor's note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity]

What exactly drew you to French food and Paris?

I guess what drew me initially to French food was travel. When I first started cooking in New York City, I was working with Michael Psilakis at his first restaurant. One day, Alain Ducasse came in. I had no idea who Alain Ducasse was at this point in time, but my chef did, obviously, and he was freaking out and very animated. The following year, we had opened up a second restaurant and Alain Ducasse came back in. Again, my chef was freaking out: "Alain Ducasse is back in the restaurant!" I still had no idea who this guy, Ducasse, was. Anyway, I was asked for two dishes off the station I was working on, so I put up two dishes, and he looks at me and says, "They better be the best dishes you've ever cooked."

I thought, once I'm done working with Mike, I'd love to go work with Alain Ducasse. I finally did my research and found out who he was, realized that he had a restaurant in Paris, then said, "Well, I better go to Paris." I didn't speak any French, I didn't know where I was going to live, I didn't know where I was going to work. I just kind of packed my bags, got on a plane, and would just figure it out when I got there.

Katie Burton

When you got established in Paris, did you notice any big differences between American and French kitchens and chefs?

I think culturally, what I realized was there was more balance in France, especially between work and life. For the first four years that I cooked, I worked six, more often than not, seven days a week and the restaurants were running every moment of the day. Then I got to Paris, where restaurants close for two days a week, and there was a balance of life that I found incredible; it was just so foreign to me. I think that tied into a lot of people's approach of life and food—laissez-faire—and that balance helps keep things a little bit more in line.

Did you know anything about French food before arriving in Paris?

No, this was my first time working in a French restaurant. I learned some French techniques along the way like how to make some sauces and how to make a roux, very standard, basic stuff. But I never dove into the actual culinary history.

Did you find a particular French dish that inspired you?

I can't say that it was a specific dish, but it was the markets, the bakeries, and the vegetable stands. Just the way that the city is structured, you never went to a supermarket; you went to your vegetable vendor, you went to your meat vendor, you went to your fish vendor. Then you looked at [your ingredients] as individual entities and brought them all back together to create something. When I went to a cheese shop, I knew that's what their specialty was. You could go there and get so much information; just the level of education that there was about food overall was incredible. The fact that you were walking by the stand and they were cutting melons and giving out cherries for you to taste, to see the product before purchasing as a way to entice you. It was a much more engaging exchange in the culture between the food, the vendors, and the buyers.

Do you find a difference now between the markets in Paris and where you get your food today for Rebelle in New York?

No, because I've really worked hard to continue to build relationships here and marry that with what I experienced over there. I'm at the farmer's market four days a week and I have friends who have farms in Martha's Vineyard where I usually will try and get a whole pig or lamb. I've done what I can do to make sure that I keep contact with the fishermen, with the people who are raising the animals, to try and create a more connected environment.

Besides the food, did you apply those other aspects of French culture to your personal life as well?

One of the things I learned for the first time in Paris was the importance of having two days off consecutively. While I can't say I've ever had that for myself since opening the restaurant, I've definitely implemented that on all of my staff. It's important for everyone to take two days off to just step away, to have a break from it all before returning. I want to be able to offer more of a balance of life.

Aside from [French] restaurants being closed two days a week, [they're] also closed for a month of the year—two weeks in August and two weeks in February. I try my best to make sure that I can offer people that opportunity to do something else so they can come back inspired by something that they've experienced, and can bring that inspiration to the kitchen and to the food.

What I've tried to create since the beginning is allowing staff to feel empowered, to take the initiative upon themselves to create a dish and then see that dish come to the menu. It's not like, "I'm the chef, I write the dishes, and that's it." I want to allow them to use that as a place to explore and find their own creative voice.

Katie Burton

After three years in Paris, what was the moment you knew you needed to come back to New York?

It was a few things. I always had a timeline in my mind of when I wanted to open up a restaurant. When I first started cooking, I told myself that my 20s were going to be dedicated just to learning and to working for others. When I hit 30, that's when I would really try to pursue opening up a restaurant on my own. It just sort of all came together.

But you didn't lose that French spirit. What were you looking for in the location of Rebelle? What was in the Bowery that was ripe for your restaurant?

When I first walked into the space, I hated it. I said, "It's way too big, this is ridiculous." Going from a 44-seat restaurant to look at a place that's 120 seats can also be a bit daunting. But as somebody who grew up in New York City, I remember going down to the Lower East Side as a kid in high school, and one of the things I've loved about New York City is the dichotomy, the difference in cultures: how you can have something exist in a place that seems like it should never be there. That was something I also witnessed in Paris, people opening up restaurants in offbeat neighborhoods that seemed to bring a new life.

The Bowery always had this historical backstory of flophouses, of being a place where the down and out lived. To go down there and put a restaurant—a French restaurant—was something I thought would create an interesting dialogue. Not only that, but because I think New York City has a really narrow mind on what it expects a French restaurant to be. I always thought there were two types of French restaurants: it was the Daniels and Per Ses or it was the Benoits and the Balthazars. But what I came to love while living in Paris was that middle ground: a place that felt as casual as Balthazar but had all of the energy and creative, culinary point of view as Daniel or Per Se. To have that, I thought it would be much more impactful in a neighborhood like the Bowery versus a place like Gramercy, where it's kind of already there.

I've been seeing a ton of coverage on the awakening of French restaurants in Harlem as well, which is another unexpected neighborhood.

Yeah, it's funny because I grew up in East Harlem. East Harlem was obviously very different from West Harlem with the breakdown of different cultures that lived there. East Harlem many know as Spanish Harlem, with Puerto Rican and Mexican as the major strongholds of culture there. West Harlem has more African American culture. I grew up almost all my life bouncing in between both neighborhoods. Harlem had its deep roots to jazz and jazz had its deep roots to France, so it makes sense that that's coming to life now.

How do French and Americans react differently to your food?

From what I have experienced, a lot of the French who have come in recognize more of the historical background of some of the food. I've never wanted to impose the food onto the guests; I want them just to experience it as part of the whole environment. It's not a matter of tons of stories about the inspiration of the dish; it's just, make something that's solid and delicious and leave it up to them to enjoy. But I have had many comments from French guests who see the connections to the historical dishes, while Americans who don't necessarily know the language or the history of certain French dishes think, "that's clever," or "that's really tasty."

Which elements of French cuisine are most prominent in your dishes and which have you left behind?

I like cooking in a much lighter fashion. We almost never make a roux. I wanted to get away from the association that French food needs to be weighted. It's because of a lot of those types of sauces that were used over and over again for such a long period of time. But if you look at Nouvelle Cuisine, you'll find a lot of the chefs were trying to go away from those classic sauces to get much lighter fare, which I think is much more approachable and current. People are trying to eat lighter and healthier, and there are ways to achieve that while still paying homage to the classic French cuisine. It's just taking a slightly different perspective.

Katie Burton

Is there one element that makes the perfect dish?

Brightness. I think everything, whether it's a meat or a fish or a vegetable has to have an element of brightness to it. That brightness changes from dish to dish; it could be acidity, it could be a spice, but it always allows things to shine.

American cooking is meat-focused and vegetables play less of a role, while the French have a different perspective on vegetables. How do you convince Americans that vegetables can be the stars of a dish?

I grew up vegetarian from when I was about six years old until I was maybe twelve or thirteen. Occasionally my mom would cook fish, but 90% of my meals were vegetable-oriented. It wasn't until I turned thirteen that I got a little side job, made some money, and was able to go buy a burger at McDonald's. But I love vegetables. I love the colors, the textures, and all you can do with them. If you begin to look at them as a hurdle, as something to really learn from and dive into, you can make a lot of wonderful recipes with them.

When I go out to eat, I want to get up from the table feeling rejuvenated. It's the difference between eating a gigantic salad or a 12-ounce piece of red meat. Both will make you feel full, but one's going to make you feel rejuvenated and one's going to make you feel weighted. The balance between them is important.

When we're creating a fish dish, there's almost always vegetables involved. The discussion is much more about the preparation of the vegetables than it is about the preparation of the fish. The fish—either you're going to sear it, poach it, or roast it—whatever it is, you have limited options. But what you can do with everything else needs to be thoughtful so it complements and unifies the dish in its entirety.

I think that one of the things that I really enjoyed about Alain Passard's cookbooks and his philosophies was also looking at the colors to play with. He's such a visual chef. I love the idea of having color being a driving force behind the food. You don't even have to think about flavors, you could just think about colors. This looks like a great composition; how do I tweak it so the flavors are unified?

I think chefs have to have an artistic gene in them, as food is such a multisensory experience. How does art play into your dishes?

I love the idea of being able to play with colors and create something that's captivating, that has layers and depth and isn't quite the same painting that's been painted. A duck confit for the most part, will always look like a duck confit, so there isn't much of a visual perspective. But if you begin to play with things, it can have a different appeal, a different voice, and a unique point of view. It's like taking an idea of what the preconceived notions are, but thinking perhaps if you break it all down and play with each element as a different color, you then create something that looks very different, but the flavors still come together as something very recognizable.

What's the next frontier for Rebelle and for you?

Right now, we're in the process of opening up a restaurant in Philadelphia in June, so that's going to be my next expansion. As for Rebelle itself, I've been really considering what we can do to grow; how can we take the next step, how else can we use the space in a different fashion so we can create more contrast? We've been discussing implementing a tasting menu, which we've done at the Chef's Counter, but doing something that's a little bit more global. Maybe doing four or five courses for a lower price, much more in the spirit of Chateaubriand or Septime, which allows a lot of creativity to be offered. I think the problem here in New York is that we've realized (and by we I think the city in general), that it's very hard to run a tasting menu-only restaurant, especially one that's more than what a Chef's Counter would be.

The reason Brooklyn Fare and Momofuku Ko are only 16 seats is because their demand isn't necessarily out there to seat 120 people every night. Chateaubriand was able to do that. They would do 180 covers on a Friday night and Saturday night, and that was because the culture was much more open to that. New York, I don't think we've gotten to that point just yet. But the idea is to offer that at Rebelle while still giving an à la carte, and perhaps creating more of a contrast between those two. Maybe by pivoting the cuisine slightly more traditional. While you're having your Steak Frites, the table next to you is having a four- or five-course menu. I don't think there are many places you can go in New York City like that. New York City's not a place where you can stay stagnant. You have to be evolving, and I think that's an important source of the energy of a restaurant.

Katie Burton

You said New Yorkers have a long way to come before accepting a tasting menu culture. But do you think that French culture is well-represented in New York?

I think that there are so many big steps that have already been made. That's definitely occurring. I see it occurring in pockets, not so much across New York City, but neighborhood by neighborhood. Like we said, there's places like Harlem or the Lower East Side, or parts of Brooklyn where communities are coming together. I think that as these pockets grow, so will the conversation. And as that conversation grows, so will understanding, and with understanding, there's usually acceptance, especially in a city like New York.

Do you think Americans are growing more interest in France?

I think it's definitely drawing interest, and I also see that when I was living in Paris there was a large expat community out there. Living here in New York City, there was a large French expat community here. There's always been this sort of love/hate relationship between the two cities; it goes back decades. It's also much more present now because of all the access to information that we didn't necessarily have so many years ago, with the rise of the Internet, with the rise of Instagram, and all the other media outlets. People feel much more connected. It's easier to create those bonds, and as a result I think there is much more of an interest that has grown: a mutual interest. It's a collaboration happening from both sides. Brooklyn Brewery opened up a brewery right outside of Paris. French chefs are coming here to New York to open up their outposts. There's a lot of exchanging that's going on right now. It's because we're finding similarities between the two cities; they've always been there, but now they're a little bit more present.

For more on Chef Daniel Eddy, click here!

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It's no secret that the restaurant scene in New York City is one of the most impressive in the world.

Whatever you could want to eat, you can find it in New York—meaning that even if you have a slightly restrictive diet, like veganism, there's plenty of options for you. Local fast-casual chains like By Chloe and Superiority Burger are making New York one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world, but the deliciousness doesn't stop there.

Between Manhattan and Brooklyn, there's been a boom of vegan restaurants that'll satisfy any craving. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Blossom(Upper West Side + Greenwich Village)

vegan restaurant

With two locations serving both Uptown and Downtown, Blossom is a go-to for local and tourist vegans alike. They offer an elevated dining experience (and a wide-spanning takeout radius) that puts a cruelty-free spin on classic main dishes like chicken piccata, rigatoni, and grilled salmon. Complete your dinner with a fresh, fruity cocktail and tiramisu—but reservations are strongly recommended beforehand.

Jajaja (West Village + Lower East Side)

vegan Jajaja

Jajaja is the ultimate heaven for Mexican food addicts. Get your fix of south of the border staples like burritos, street tacos, and enchiladas that'll make you second guess whether or not it's actually vegan (pro tip: The nacho portion is large enough to be a meal for one person). They also have a small but mighty menu of tequila and mezcal cocktails to kick off a night of LES bar-hopping. It gets crowded here quickly, though, so try to schedule your dinner early.

Urban Vegan Kitchen(West Village)

Urban Vegan Kitchen

We get it—eating vegan can get kind of bland sometimes. But that's not an issue at Urban Vegan Kitchen, the type of restaurant that'll have you wanting to order one of everything on the menu (but we recommend the "chicken" and waffles). Co-owned by the founder of Blossom, they boast a menu that's just as edgy and exciting as their decor. Their space is large too, making it a crowd-pleasing option for a slightly larger group.

Champs Diner (Williamsburg)

Champs Diner vegan

Located near the border of hip neighborhoods Williamsburg and Bushwick, Champs is a favorite of many young Brooklynites. Their menu is full of vegan alternatives to classic diner fare like breakfast plates, cheeseburgers, and even milkshakes that taste mysteriously like the real deal, while the decor puts a quintessential Brooklyn edge on '50s digs. Who said going plant-based had to be healthy all the time, anyway?

Peacefood (Greenwich Village)

vegan Peacefood

Conveniently located just a stone's throw from Union Square—near both NYU and the New School—Peacefood is a hotspot for college students, but vegans of any age are guaranteed to enjoy their menu. They specialize in comfort food items like quiche, chicken parmesan, and chili with corn bread—all plant-based, of course. While their "chicken" tender basket is to die for, make sure to save room for dessert here, too; Peacefood's lengthy pastry menu is a dream come true.

Buddha Bodai (Chinatown)

Buddha Bodai vegan

Dim sum restaurants in Chinatown are a dime a dozen, but Buddha Bodai takes the cake for the best veggie-friendly experience in one of New York's most bustling neighborhoods. Bring your family or friends along with you to enjoy this massive menu of buns and dumplings stuffed with any type of mock meat you could want. This is also a great option for gluten-free vegans, too, as much of their menu accommodates a gluten-free diet.

Greedi Kitchen (Crown Heights)

Greedi Kitchen vegan

Crown Heights might not be the first neighborhood people think of when it comes to dining in Brooklyn, but Greedi Kitchen is making the case for delicious restaurants in the area. Inspired by its founder's many years of travel, Greedi Kitchen combines the comforting flavors of southern soul food with the added pizazz of global influences. Try one of their po'boys or the crab cake sliders. Trust us.

Screamer’s Pizzeria (Greenpoint + Crown Heights)

Screamer's Pizza vegan

We know what you're thinking: Pizza without real cheese? Call us crazy, but Screamer's does vegan pizza to perfection. If you're into classic pies like a simple margherita or pepperoni, or you want to branch out with unexpected topping combinations, Screamer's is delicious enough to impress carnivores, too (pro tip: the Greenpoint location is small and serves most pies by the slice, while the Crown Heights location is larger for sitting down).

Learning a second language is one of the coolest and most rewarding things you can do in your spare time.

However, if hopping on a one-way ticket to your country of choice isn't an option for you, it can be difficult to find an immersive experience to learn, especially past high school or college.

The next best thing is language-learning apps.

We wanted to look at the top two: DuoLingo and Rosetta Stone. Duolingo is the new kid on the block; one of the top downloaded, this free app is a favorite. Then, there's the legacy option: Rosetta Stone. For over 20 years, they've been developing their language-learning software, and their app is the most recent innovation.

They're both great options, but keep reading to figure out which one is the best for you.

Key Similarities

  • Both claim you'll expand your vocabulary
  • Both are available as an app for iOS and Android users
  • Both have a clean user interface with appealing graphics
  • Both have offline capabilities (if you pay)

Key Differences

  • DuoLingo has a popular free version along with its paid version, whereas Rosetta Stone only has a paid version
  • DuoLingo offers 35+ languages, and Rosetta Stone offers 24 languages
  • Rosetta Stone has an advanced TruAccent feature to detect and correct your accent
  • DuoLingo offers a breadth of similar vocab-recognizing features, and Rosetta Stone offers a wider variety of learning methods, like Stories

DuoLingo Overview

DuoLingo's app and its iconic owl have definitely found a place in pop culture. One of the most popular free language-learning apps, it offers 35 different languages, including Klingon, that can be learned through a series of vocabulary-matching games.

DuoLingo offers a free version and a version for $9.99 a month without ads and with offline access.

Rosetta Stone Overview

The Rosetta Stone app is a beast. There are 24 different languages to choose from, but more importantly, you get a huge variety of methods for learning. Not only are there simple games, but there are stories where you get to listen, the Seek and Speak feature, where you go on a treasure hunt to photograph images and get the translations, and the TruAccent feature, which will help you refine your accent. Whenever you speak into the app, you'll get a red/yellow/green rating on your pronunciation, so you can fine-tune it to really sound like you have a firm grasp of the language.

Rosetta Stone costs just $5.99 a month for a 24-month subscription, which gives you access to all of their 24 languages!

Final Notes

Overall, these are both excellent apps for increasing your proficiency in a new language! They both feel quite modern and have a fun experience.

When it comes to really committing words to memory and understanding them, Rosetta Stone is king.

DuoLingo definitely will help you learn new words, and the app can be addicting, but users report it as more of a game than a means to an end.

With Rosetta Stone's variety of features, you'll never get bored; there are more passive elements and more active elements to help you activate different parts of your brain, so you're learning in a more dynamic and efficient way.

The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers only: Up To 45% Off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Languages & Free Tutoring Sessions!


So You Want to Try Workaway

Want to travel cheap, meet locals and kindred spirits, live off the land, and possibly change your life? It might be time to try Workaway.

Sitting in a house on a hill in Tuscany, Italy, watching the sun set and listening to the sound of music coming from the house in which I was staying almost rent-free, I wondered how I had gotten this lucky.

Actually, it was really all thanks to one website—

Workaway Workaway

Workaway is a site that sets travelers up with hosts, who provide visitors with room and board in exchange for roughly five hours of work each weekday. The arrangement varies from host to host—some offer money, others require it—but typically, the Workaway experience is a rare bird: a largely anti-capitalist exchange.

I did four Workaways the summer I traveled in Europe, and then one at a monastery near my home in New York the summer after. Each experience, though they lasted around two weeks each, was among the most enriching times of my life—and I'd argue I learned almost as much through those experiences as I did in four years of college.

There's something extremely special about the Workaway experience, though it's certainly not for everyone.

Workaway Isn't for Everyone: What to Know Before You Go

I loved all the Workaways I went on, but the best advice I can give to anyone considering going is: Enter with an open mind. If you're someone who doesn't do well with the unexpected, if you're not willing to be flexible, if you're a picky eater or easily freaked out, then it's likely that you won't have a good experience at a Workaway.

There are exceptions to all of this. At the Workaway I stayed at in Italy, one of the travelers was suffering from stomach bloating, and the host helped cure her with a diet of miso. (I'm not saying you should go Workawaying if you're ill—this traveler's mother also came to oversee everything—but still, you never know what you'll find).


You should also probably be willing and able to actually work at your Workaway. These aren't vacations, and some hosts will be stricter and less forgiving than others regarding your work ethic. If you're someone who has no experience with difficult farm work, for example, it might not be a good idea to do a Workaway on a farm.

How to Choose a Host

The Workaway website boasts a truly overwhelming number of hosts. You can narrow your search down by location, but you can also search key terms that can help guide you in the right direction. You might search "music," for example—that's how I found the Italy location. You'll find hosts in busy cities and in the most remote mountains of India; you'll find opportunities to tutor and explore. You'll find shadiness, too, so trust your instincts.

Take time to actually read the host's entire bio before reaching out. Read all the comments, too, and if you're nervous or a first-timer, only reach out to hosts who have exclusively glowing reviews. I had the best experiences with hosts that had left extremely detailed bios—that showed me they were likely going to be dedicated hosts.

I also chose hosts whose bios gave me a good feeling, something like a spark of electricity or recognition. This instinctual method might not work for everyone, but it certainly led me in the right direction in all of my Workaway experiences. My Workaways gave me some of the best memories and deepest relationships of my life, and that was partly thanks to the fact that I chose places that were good fits for me.

For example, I chose to stay alone with a wizened academic in France. Something about his bio and descriptions resonated with me enough to trust him. (I also read some of his many thousand-page-long treatises on peace and compassion and decided that if someone could write this and be a psychopath, this wasn't a world I wanted to live in anyway). It was the right decision—and the two weeks I spent there were some of the most enlightening of my entire life.

When you reach out to a host, particularly if it's someone you really want to stay with, it's a good idea to frame your initial contact email as a cover letter of sorts—make sure you explain who you are and personalize your letter to fit each host.

Ixcanaan A Workaway painting experienceWorkaway

Travel Safely

Especially if you're traveling alone, it's always a good idea to choose a host whose page has tons of good reviews. Aside from that, a quick Google search and a scan of any social media pages related to your potential host can't hurt.

Ultimately, Workawaying requires a certain amount of trust and faith on both the host and the traveler's parts—you're either trusting someone to stay in your home or trusting a stranger to host and feed you.

But that trust, in my experience, also results in rapid and deep connections unlike anything I've experienced in the "real world." When you go and share a home with someone, you're also sharing yourself with them, and in that exchange there are the seeds of a powerful bond.

Participate Fully

Wherever you go, you'll want to open your mind and participate fully. Adjust yourself to your host's lifestyle, not the other way around, and take time to get to know your host and the others around you.

You might find that you become someone you never knew you were. As a lifelong introvert, I somehow managed to develop close relationships with many of the people I was staying with.

This might be because most people who are at Workaways are seeking something for one reason or another. In my experience, you find lots of people who are at junctures in their lives, seeking connection and meaning. With the right Workaway, you might just find it.

Workaway The Broke Backpacker - WorkawayThe Broke Backpacker