240 Central Park South
Born in Beloit, Wisconsin, in 1989 Michael White moves to Chicago to study the ropes at the Kendall Culinary Insititute. One year later and he’s already in the kitchens of Spiaggia, Chicago’s most famous Italian restaurant. Here he meets chef Paul Bartolotta, who transmits him a dream: going to Italy to learn to cook. A dream come true in the kitchen of San Domenico in Imola, where he stays for 7 years, cooking side by side with Valentino Marcattillii.
In 2001 it’s time to go back home: he’s chef de cuisine at Spiaggia, awarded with the prestigious four stars by the Chicago Tribune. The following year he’s seduced by the allure of Manhattan: he’s executive chef at Fiamma Osteria and soon is considered the best chef in town according to the Esquire. And he starts to write: “Fiamma: The Essence of Contemporary Italian Cooking” is a best-seller. He then moves to the other side of the Hudson River, and opens Alto, two Michelin stars from 2009 to 2011. And Due Mari and Convivio too, the latter also gratified with a star in 2011. In May 2009 it’s the turn of Marea in New York. And directly come the New York Times 3 stars and one Michelin star in 2010. It’s the final consecration: his “Best Chef” awards, given by the various magazines, are countless. With the second star for Marea, arrived with the 2011 edition of the Michelin guide.
In October 2010 he also opens Osteria Morini, a name that is a homage to his mentor, Gianluigi Morini, celebrating the opening of a true Emilia-style trattoria. And it’s not over: there’s also Ai Fiori, on the second floor of the Setai Fifth Avenue hotel, a Mediterranean cuisine restaurant inspired by Liguria. And in May 2011, the first opening abroad, in Hong Kong: it’s called Al Molo and it overlooks Victoria Harbour.
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The protagonists at Identità New York 2018. From the top left corner, clockwise: Massimo Bottura, Virgilio Martinez, Carlo Cracco, Lidia Bastianich, Lello Ravagnan, Franco Pepe, Cristina Bowerman and Francesco Mazzei
Milk chocolate, honey and violet by Michael O'Hare, chef and owner at The Man Behind The Curtain in Leeds, England, one Michelin star
Tony Mantuano, originally from Wisconsin, is patron chef at restaurant Spiaggia in Chicago since 1984, one Michelin star. In the same city he also owns Cafè Spiaggia, Purple Pig, Terzo Piano and River Roast (photos by Brambilla/Serrani)