If you’re a fan of Bistro La Minette and La Peg, chances are you’re familiar with chef Peter Woolsey, owner of both restaurants. The Philly native discovered his passion for cooking as an adolescent, preparing breakfast foods and pasta sauces with his father. He attended Johnson and Wales University to study culinary arts and solidified his future as a chef. In the early days of his career, he worked at New York’s Waldorf Astoria and then moved to France in 2000 to study at Le Cordon Bleu. In 2002, he moved back to Philadelphia to work under George Perrier. A few years later, he started a family as well as his next chapter as a restaurateur. Woolsey dishes on the most romantic place for dinner and where to go for Korean fried chicken.
Best late night meal?
With two kids at home, I don’t get out late. more often than not I am wolfing down pasta with black pepper and Pecorino Romano.
Best meal under $10?
Pho saigon, beef stew with rice noodles. Stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that also happens to be food I didn’t grow up with.
Best hidden foodie gem?
In this day and age, nothing is secret anymore. … Go up to Cheltenham Avenue for Korean fried chicken.
Best place to dine alone?
Southwark (701 S. 4th St.). Even after the change over to new ownership, they didn’t miss a beat. It is different but the quality is still there. I like to sit at the bar talk to whoever sits within my orbit and eat the beef tartare and gnocchi with pork ragu.
Place you always take or recommend for out-of-towners?
Zahav (237 St. James Pl.) is the obvious go-to just because nothing like that exists outside of Philadelphia. I’ve never had a dish there I didn’t like so, it is always best to let the kitchen decide what to give you.
Go-to date spot, hands-down?
If I’m looking to impress? Granted, I’ve been married 12 years, but I think Townsend (1623 E. Passyunk Ave.) is the classiest place for a romantic dinner.
Best place to catch up with friends?
Bistrot La Minette (623 S. 6th St.). It is awesome to be able to be such a baller and pick up the tab for everyone that I like hanging with at my own restaurant. Oeuf de pecheur and mustard braised rabbit are the dishes to get.
Most Instagrammable restaurant?
I am not an Instagram user. But I would pick Aldine (1901 Chestnut St.) for its beautiful food. George [Sabatino] has such a deft hand with flavor and also has a great artistic sense when plating up.
Peter Woolsey is one of the chefs participating in FEASTIVAL 2016, which happens on Thursday, Sept. 29. For more information, click here.