Jean-Georges Has Appetite for Empire

Chef Vongerichten aims for unheard-of 50 restaurants in 5 years
By Victoria Floethe,  Newser User
Posted Jul 23, 2008 1:00 PM CDT
French chef Jean Georges Vongerichten   (Getty Images (by Event))
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(Newser) – Jean-Georges Vongerichten has been busy indeed outside the kitchen—too busy, in the minds of some. In the next 5 years, the restaurateur plans to open between 30 and 50 new establishments in Starwood Hotels worldwide. The dramatic move, brokered by a private-equity firm, will make consistency a challenge and could lessen his cachet before long, Portfolio reports.

The celebrity chef's restaurants aren't being imported wholesale: The communal dining of New York's Spice Market, for example, didn't charm Atlantans. Despite the risks of losing control over far-flung tables, Vongerichten sees beyond the 18 respected restaurants under his belt—and even has ambitions to run a hotel. "I know this can't be it," he said. "I have too many ideas, too many dreams." (Read more restaurant stories.)