NINA CLEMENTE AT THE STANDARD, HIGH LINE’S PLAZA RESTAURANT. PHOTO: CHRIS LEAMAN.
Nina Clemente was raised in the larger-than-life ’80s New York art world—her father is painter Francesco Clemente. At age 35, she is now a celebrated chef and recently debuted an all-day menu at the Standard, High Line’s outdoor restaurant, the Standard Plaza. We asked this native bohemian daughter about balancing food and art.
MATT MULLEN: Is there a vivid childhood memory of hanging around artists?
NINA CLEMENTE: I remember spending many nights at Mr. Chow at age 5. My place was always under the table doodling with Keith Haring, while other artists passed me crispy duck and green shrimp.
MATT MULLEN: What do contemporary art and Italian food have in common?
NINA CLEMENTE: It’s very important to reinvent, without losing sight of traditions.
MATT MULLEN: What’s your creative process?
NINA CLEMENTE: I go to sleep dreaming of flavor combinations and plate arrangements.
MATT MULLEN: What did your dad teach you about food?
NINA CLEMENTE: My mom really set the great food foundation in us by cooking delicious meals. Dinner was quite the ritual in our household. My dad provided the visual stimulation, perhaps unconsciously, through his work to inspire the color and vibrancy in the dishes I now create. Plus, no matter how hard he worked, he always made it home for dinner.
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