He is installed now at the David Rockwell-designed showpiece called Nectar, its Buddha tapestry soaring, its sushi bar hopping, a rare moment of urban chic so far out the Main Line (in Berwyn) that you can almost hear the buggy wheels grinding in Lancaster County.
It's an odd amalgam that chef-owner Patrick Feury, 46, presides over - the striking un-rural palette, the meticulous Asian-fusion plating, the bounty of some of the richest farm country on the Eastern seaboard.
But you get the impression that not only is he comfortable - this chef who started out washing pots at 15 at a pork butcher's near his North Jersey home - but also that maybe he planned it this way, or would have if he could have.
He sticks his garden herbs in the craft beer (Fists of Feury) that he created with his brother, Terence, 43, now the celebrated top chef at Fork, the Old City bistro. He coos over the wild Arctic char his fishmonger flies in. He salutes his farms on the menu - Windy Acres baby vegetables, Branch Creek salad greens.
He was trained in New York (at the Waldorf-Astoria and Le Cirque), and Paris (Les Olivades), and by the French-Asian master Susanna Foo. But his new roots are here.
Quite literally. Beside Nectar's parking lot you see his own crop of peppers, squash, Thai basil, parsley, sage, and Feury's personal favorite - rosemary, the secret in his breads and the Feury family brew.
Rick Nichols: What's up with the beer thing? Did you just hop on the happening craft-brew bandwagon?
Patrick Feury: Nah, I've been fooling with it since high school. My brother Terry bought me a beer-making kit.
R.N.: But this golden pale ale, Fists of Feury, isn't a hobby beer. It's pretty polished stuff, Nectar's best-seller.
P.F.: Well, when I moved out here to open Nectar, I got in touch with Bill Covaleski, who runs Victory Brewing in Downingtown. He did all the beer menu for us; I did the food pairing. We got to be great friends. We both have young kids about the same age. Later I got to know brewers at Allagash up in Maine.
R.N.: Speaking of young children, you told me your 5-year-old son is into oysters, and your 7-year-old daughter comes to Nectar on your day off to bake bread with you. Isn't she also an ice skater?
P.F.: I used to play ice hockey as a kid. And my wife Tina was a nationally ranked figure skater. When we were dating, we used to go to the Wissahickon rink. Now our daughter is off to the rink in West Chester all the time.
R.N.: And you're also a skilled ice sculptor?
P.F.: I actually ran the program when I was starting out at the Waldorf. And that's how I made my first connection to Le Cirque. Daniel Boulud, the chef at the time, needed ice sculptures for the photographs in his first book. I told him I'd do them for free if he'd let me work for free in his kitchen. He wasn't about to turn that down. You can still see them in the background; they sort of look like ice mountains behind the grouper, black bass, and mushrooms.
R.N.: Later you worked for Susanna Foo in Philadelphia and eventually the now-closed Suilan in Atlantic City. I notice her influence in Nectar dishes like roasted foie gras sushi with black summer truffle and pear, and lo mein with smoked wild boar and Chinese sausage. Was she a major inspiration?
P.F.: Let's just say I wouldn't even know how to make a good pad Thai or lo mein or use the wok if I hadn't worked in her kitchen. I wouldn't be in a restaurant like Nectar if it wasn't for her. I'd be in a place much more American-European.
R.N.: Your dad taught sixth-grade math, history, and social studies in the town of Rumson, N.J. But his passion seemed to be his 21-foot Sea Ray, and birds - the osprey he nurtured as a park ranger in Sandy Hook during the summers.
P.F.: Yes, that was a bit of an in-joke. Even if you took math or history from him, you learned about birds.
R.N.: Isn't Ellen Yin, the owner at Fork, from Rumson?
P.F.: She was telling me once that we grew up in neighboring towns. And I said, "Did you go to school in Rumson?" She said yes. And I said, "Then you had Mr. Feury." And she said, "Oh, you're that Feury?!"
R.N.: You got started humbly enough, washing pots at Valencia Pork, the Italian butcher shop in North Jersey. How did that end up?
P.F.: The boss didn't want me to leave until I found someone else to take my pot-washing job. So, I found someone: my younger brother, Terry. I