The Dandelion Chandelier Luminary Café is the place to find a series of personal interviews with fascinating people who are stellar achievers in their chosen field of endeavor. Our Luminaries are sharing their origin stories, life philosophies, secret songs, guilty pleasures and hidden talents. It’s guaranteed to be illuminating.
James Truman is the charming and erudite proprietor of Nix, a Michelin-starred restaurant helmed by Chef John Fraser that celebrates vegetables as a healthy, environmentally-conscious way of eating for the 21st century. With the belief that eating vegetarian or vegan should feel more celebration than sacrifice, Nix features dishes that are seasonal, shareable and highly flavorful. Innovative cocktails, house-made sodas and an affordable, adventurous wine list complete the menu, all served in a lively Greenwich Village atmosphere.
Before launching Nix in February 2016, James Truman was the editor-in-chief of Details magazine, the long-time Editorial Director of Condé Nast, and a culinary consultant to hotelier André Balazs for restaurant Narcissa in the East Village and the Chiltern Firehouse in London.
We stopped by Nix for a wonderful meal and conversation with James on a recent rainy late-August afternoon.
What are you reading right now?
I wish I had more time to read! I can tell you what I last read. I was visiting LA and I stopped in at Little Pine, Moby’s vegan organic restaurant in Silver Lake. He gave me a copy of his autobiography, Porcelain. As a kid he was a vegan and teetotaler trying to break into the music business in New York. I really enjoyed it.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Where would you stay?
It may be because I’m looking at the curve of the booth nearby, but I am thinking about the Greek Islands. I want to go there. Not Santorini – a lesser-known island. I would not stay in a luxury hotel. I would stay at a simple discrete pension near the water. I’ve been dreaming of it all summer, actually. Unfortunately, I’m too busy.
What’s the last new food item that you tried for the first time? Did you like it?
Jackfruit. It’s an Asian fruit. I’ve been intrigued by it, because when you cut it open, it has the texture of meat. It’s something we’ve been thinking about for the menu at Nix. It’s used a lot in LA, and unfortunately, it’s almost always pickled. I don’t like the taste of the pickling. It tastes canned. So we’re looking for a jackfruit source that isn’t pickled. Getting that texture would be great.
What’s your favorite form of exercise?
Eating! But I work out with a personal trainer two times a week. Looking unhealthy wouldn’t be particularly good for the brand.
What is your favorite item of clothing? Who’s your go-to designer?
Trousers are my favorite item of clothing. Dries van Noten is my go-to. He’s never given up his vision.
What song is on your playlist that people would be surprised by?
Early ‘70s glam rock: Slade and The Sweet, to be specific.
Who is your favorite artist?
What’s your dream car?
A 1963 Bentley Continental convertible.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Expensive Japanese whisky.
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