David Drake


Without a hand, David Drake is not less. Without a hand, he is more.

David Drake is a revolutionary chef. He is one of New Jersey's restaurant gods, an innovative French-inspired, Porsche-driving rule-breaker. How did he get here?

Single-Handed follows his often-reckless path. From bitter and unmoored teenager to industrious student of the disciplined French kitchen. From the boy with a boycott against tomatoes to the man whose soul was shaken loose by dinner at Le Bec-Fin. From the adolescent who smothered his withered nub under Ace bandages to the defiant Inspector-Gadget chef who developed a series of clever workarounds to prove he’s just as adroit as anyone, if not more so.

Today Drake is a visionary French-inspired chef and a James Beard nominee. His story is forthright yet intimate, a story of loss and redemption, extravagance and restraint, marriage and divorce, ambition and failure – all set against the evolution of modern American cuisine, from foie gras to Mesclun greens to bacon-infused mac and cheese.

“Restaurant people are obsessive, with tendencies toward excess. They are people with fire. With no excuses.
Zero tolerance for bullshit. And they welcome other misfits.
The business has that, and, for me, that was everything.”

Watch for the upcoming memoir
written by Teresa Politano, author and restaurant critic.

David Drake images and video: Keith Muccilli Photography LLC