Charles Masson Jr., who was replaced by his brother Philippe as the manager of La Grenouille, will return to the restaurant scene just a few blocks away.
He will be the manager of the French restaurant, lounge and bars in this hotel and apartment tower being built by Starwood Capital, a major owner of Baccarat, the French crystal maker.
When it opens in December, the chef will be Shea Gallante, formerly of Cru and Ciano, who said he was excited to be involved in a project with Charles Masson. “The restaurant will have 85 seats, similar to La Grenouille,” Mr. Masson said. The hotel’s name is something of a good omen for him. He recalled that in the early days of La Grenouille, founded in 1962 by his parents, Charles Masson Sr. and Gisele Masson, his father bought a big Baccarat crystal vase that he could hardly afford and, filled with flowers, it became a signature of the restaurant.
Masson will oversee the development and daily operations of four distinct culinary destinations within the hotel, including a signature restaurant, bar, grand salon and event venue. In addition, residents of 60 glamorous residences within the Baccarat Hotel and Resorts will have the opportunity to enjoy room service and private dining overseen by Masson.
Masson himself is lauded for his elegant flower arrangements that were the heart of the romantic surroundings to which diners were drawn for decades. At Baccarat Hotel and Residences New York, which is owned and is being developed by Starwood Capital Group, the private investment fund led by real estate and hotel entrepreneur Barry Sternlicht, Masson will be instrumental in ensuring that the restaurant and gathering areas are full of life, brilliance and exceptional food.
“Charles’ inimitable approach to guest service, paired with his natural connection to the Baccarat brand made this an irresistible partnership,” says Barry Sternlicht, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Starwood Capital Group. “We believe he is the ideal person to help us reflect Baccarat’s unique legacy and way of life originally conceived by Louis XV as we open the brand's first hotel on its 250th anniversary year. We are so pleased to have Charles as part of our family.”
“Baccarat is the greatest and most historic French luxury brand – one that has long been synonymous with an unparalleled level of artisanship. This hotel and the dining destinations within will redefine luxury in New York and I am thrilled to be a stakeholder in this exciting and iconic project,” says Charles Masson. Shea Gallante, formerly at CRU and Bouley, has been appointed head chef of Baccarat Hotel and Residences New York, and will work hand in hand with Masson to develop the menu at the signature restaurant (name TK). They plan to celebrate classic French classic cuisine with a modern twist for a truly exquisite, yet simple experience. Located on the ground floor, the retail-level venue has been envisioned by designer Stephen Sills.
The space will be timeless, sophisticated and sumptuous with soaring ceilings, myriad banquette seating, oak parquet floors, and perfect lighting to create an intimate dining experience, yet not intimidating. Gallante and Masson will also collaborate on the extraordinary 60-foot bar and elegant outdoor terrace, grand salon menus, in-room dining and a special catering menu for residents. Baccarat Hotel and Residences New York is located between Fifth and Sixth Avenues opposite The Museum of Modern Art. Featuring 114 guest rooms, the luxurious hotel brings the Baccarat brand to life using classic and reinvented pieces from the collection, as well as compelling contemporary art and furniture. To celebrate the partnership, Masson has created a beautiful window display of magnificent blooms at Baccarat’s midtown store at 635 Madison Avenue, which starting viewing last month.