Expansion: Building a Restaurant Empire (NYC)
You developed a concept, you created the restaurant, you made a profit. Now what? Is it time to replicate your restaurant in the same city, or move to a new market further afield?
Join Culintro and Nespresso as we tackle the hot topic of restaurant expansion. Hear stories and get advice from Chef Michael White of Altamarea Group, Chef Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food, and Andy Ricker of Pok Pok Restaurants.
Following the Panel Event, there will be an after-party at Asellina from 8-10pm.
Thank you to our sponsors:
Anne E. McBride is the director of the Experimental Cuisine Collective at New York University, where she is also pursuing a PhD in food studies, and culinary program and editorial director for the Strategic Initiatives Group at the Culinary Institute of America. She has co-authored four books with culinary professionals, including Chocolate Epiphany with François Payard and the recently released Les Petits Macarons with Kathryn Gordon.
Danny Bowien is the Chef and co-founder of Mission Chinese Food in both San Francisco and New York City. Bowien has been named a 2011 Rising Star Chef by the San Francisco Chronicle and was nominated for Rising Star Chef by the James Beard Awards in 2012.
Bowien started his culinary career in New York City, eventually moving to San Francisco where he worked mainly in sushi restaurants. He made the switch to Italian cuisine at Farina where he became the Chef de Cuisine. Bowien was first attracted to Chinese food while a fine dining cook in San Francisco. “All my friends and I would go out to eat Chinese food on our day off because when you’re cooking fancy food all the time you don’t want to eat it on your day off.” Bowien eventually left fine dining to start the wildly popular Mission Burger inside an Asian/Mexican grocery store on the same block as Lung Shan, the restaurant that would eventually become the current Mission Chinese Food. Soon, he and Anthony Myint, a former coworker from Bar Tartine were cooking unconventional Chinese food together and garnering attention from San Franciscans and the press. Mission Chinese Food expanded to New York in the spring of 2012. Bowien plans to continue to expand the restaurants.
Photo Credit: Alanna Hale
Michael WhiteChef/Owner Altamarea GroupMarea, Osteria Morini, Ai Fiori, Osteria Morini NJ, Due Mari, Al Molo, Nicoletta
Although Michael White’s soulful, flavorful interpretations of Italian cuisine indicate otherwise, he is not an Italian native who absorbed generations of recipes at birth. He is, in fact, a Midwesterner who spent the majority of his childhood days in Beloit, Wisconsin. By whim or intuition, White decided to try his hand at culinary school, pursuing a career out of something that had been only a passing fancy. He enrolled at Kendall Culinary Institute in 1989 and just a year later, secured a position prepping in Chicago’s most famous Italian restaurant, Spiaggia. He spent a year and a half learning from Chef Paul Bartolotta and, wanting to find the origin of his mentor’s awe-inspiring recipes, he followed the Chef’s footsteps to Italy. He trained with the venerated Italian Chef Valentino Marcattilii at Ristorante San Domenico in Imola and it was there, learning to cook in the Old World-style kitchen, that he began his Italian transformation. For the next seven years, he studied the hands-on, ingredient-driven cooking style of the Italians, working with Marcattilii and traveling across the country for informal, but equally important, cooking lessons with friends. White returned to the US in 2001 to Spiaggia as Chef de Cuisine and contributed to the restaurant’s four-star review from The Chicago Tribune. In 2002, he took New York by storm as Executive Chef of Fiamma Osteria. The restaurant garnered a glowing three-star review from The New York Times and White was named Esquire’s Best New Chef, 2002. White also brought his famous recipes to home cooks with his book, Fiamma: The Essence of Contemporary Italian Cooking (John While & Sons, 2006). In 2007, White partnered with Wall Street executive Ahmass Fakahany, to open Due Terre in New Jersey, and later that year he took the helm of the James Beard Award winning (2003) L’Impero and Alto. Alto quickly garnered a three-star review from The New York Times and White earned the restaurant two Michelin Stars for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Guides. In 2008, White opened his second New Jersey restaurant, Due Mari, and transformed L’Impero into Convivio—a restaurant that exudes the soul and spirit of Southern Italy—which was most recently awarded one Michelin star in the 2011 Guide. In May 2009, White opened Marea, a restaurant devoted to the bounty of the sea, and again garnered three-stars from The New York Times, a Michelin Star in the 2010 Guide, a nod from Esquire magazine as a Best New Restaurant of 2009, the nomination of Best Italian Chef in the Country and Best New Restaurant by GQ magazine and was awarded two Michelin stars in the 2011 Guide. In April of 2010, Chef White was named one of the 40 most influential New Yorkers under 40 by Crain’s New York Business, and received a nod from the James Beard Foundation with a nomination for Best Chef: New York City and the award for Best New Restaurant in the country for Marea. In October of 2010, White opened Osteria Morini, an homage to his mentor, Gianluigi Morini, in downtown Manhattan. Holding true to the rich and bold flavors of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, White successfully recreates an authentic Italian trattoria in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City. Just one month later, White ventured into the hotel dining scene with Ai Fiori on the second floor of the Setai Fifth Avenue hotel. Ai Fiori features a Mediterranean-inspired menu, with a strong focus on the French Riviera. The restaurant received 3-Stars from the New York Times. In May 2011, Michael and the Altamarea Group opened Al Molo, ‘The Pier’ in Hong Kong. Al Molo is located on the Victoria Harbour waterfront at Ocean Terminal. In October 2011, Marea was awarded by ZAGAT 2012 as #1 Italian Restaurant NY and given 2 Michelin Stars. Ai Fiori was named Esquire Magazine 2011 Best New Restaurants in America, ZAGAT 2012 #1 New Restaurant NYC, and given one Michelin Star. In addition, Marea was recently accepted into the prestigious group Relais & Chateaux. In February 2012, White & the Altamarea Group transformed Bernardsville’s Due Terre into the second location of Osteria Morini. Michael is currently working on his second cookbook, “Cook Like an Italian,” written by famed cookbook author Andrew Friedman and being published by Random House. The book will be released in September 2013. In March 2012, Chef White received his third James Beard Award nomination for Best Chef: NY. The The Altamarea Group opened Nicoletta, their first foray into pizza, in New York City’s East Village in June and will be opening two more New York restaurants in 2013 as well as expanding the Osteria Morini brand to Washington D.C. in the fall of 2013. In the 2013 Michelin Guide, Marea retained its two Michelin stars and Ai Fiori retained its one star. For more information, visit: http://altamareagroup.com.
Andy Ricker visited Thailand the first time as a backpacker in 1987. He has spent several months each year since his second visit in 1993 traveling, eating, cooking and studying food culture in Thailand and neighboring countries. He is the owner, executive chef and landlord of the award winning Pok Pok Restaurant in Portland, Oregon, which opened in 2005. Prior to Pok Pok, he spent a good portion of his life working in restaurants all over the world before settling in Portland in 1990. A semi-retired rock musician and fully retired housepainter, he spends any spare time he has catching up on sleep and traveling when possible. In late 2008, he opened Ping, a neighborhood eatery in Portland’s Chinatown which received the honor of being named Rising Star of the Year 2009 by the Oregonian newspaper and one of the Top Ten Best New Restaurants in America 2009 by GQ Magazine, Whiskey Soda Lounge, a bar/lounge featuring the drinking food of Thailand across the street from Pok Pok opened it’s doors in late 2009. Chef Ricker’s Pok Pok Noi, a small to-go joint featuring the menu of the original Pok Pok shack, opened in March of 2011 in Northeast Portland. In 2011, he won a James Beard Award for Best Chef, Northwest. In early 2012 he opened two new restaurants in New York City, Pok Pok Ny and Pok Pok Wing.