Famed chef Mashama Bailey is ready to return home. Bailey was born in the Bronx, grew up in Queens, and grew up professionally in kitchens in New York City. In 2014 he left Gotham to open the Gray in Savannah, Georgia. In December, New Yorkers can eat Bailey’s food again. She and Gray co-owner John O. Morisano are bringing the acclaimed restaurant into town as the final Intersect by Lexus residence.
At Gray, Bailey cooks what she calls Port City Southern Food: cuisine based on southern ingredients but not isolated from the world that has passed through this old coastal town. In this way, she can incorporate her own cooking experiences with her grandmother in the south, but also in New York and France, so that the grits can be topped with foie gras, quail and Creole sauce.
Bailey and Morisano remodeled a room that was once a greyhound station south of Jim Crow and reclaimed a formerly separate room. Their project was bigger than that. Bailey, who took care of legendary chef Edna Lewis, did a lot of research on Mediterranean food and made sure that African American contributions to the kitchen were recognized. Last year she won the James Beard Award for Best Chef: South and was also the first African American woman to appear on Netflix’s Chef’s Table.
At Intersect, their Savannah menu will feature red rice balls with lamb and green goddess; Field pea falafel with sunflower hummus; Sweet potatoes with peanut butter, ginger, and fenugreek; smoked catfish dip; smoked lamb with potato cake and canni sauce.
The famous restaurateur Danny Meyer opened Intersect for the first time in 2018 in cooperation with the car company Lexus as a new business model for restaurants with a title sponsor, almost like in sports arenas. The first chef to reside there was Gregory Marchand of Frenchie in Paris, one of the restaurants at the forefront of the French bistronomy movement. Bailey will be the fifth chef to settle at the restaurant in the heart of Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.
Bailey’s residence, which begins December 3rd, marks the reopening of Intersect as indoor dining is now allowed in town. Therefore, the restaurant will initially be occupied to 25 percent until the city approves an increase. Reservations are now possible in the first three weeks of December.