Michael Lomonaco
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Grilled In a Minute: Michael Lomonaco

Julie Mautner / February 27th, 2012

Chef Michael Lomonaco operates the wildly successful Porter House New York at the Time Warner Center. He has hosted “Epicurious” and “Michael’s Place” on cable TV and published two books, The ‘21’ Cookbook and Nightly Specials. Strongly dedicated to community support and charitable causes, Michael co-founded the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund which gathered aid for restaurant workers’ families in the wake of September 11, 2001. He’s also actively involved in City Harvest and Share Our Strength. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Michael lives in Manhattan with his wife Diane.

If you were to close your restaurant, then what?
Find another great spot in NYC—the most exciting restaurant city on the planet—and keep on cooking. Nothing beats feeding and nurturing others in the greatest city in the world.

What's the one cookbook (not your own) you use most often?
James Beard’s American Cookery.

And the best advice you ever received?
“Be yourself, have fun and keep it real.”—Jacques Pepin

Where did you have your last truly great restaurant meal? What made it a standout?
A few months ago in Athens, Greece. We were in one of the more creative and modern Greek restaurants, the one-star Varoulko, where the chef is seriously committed to advancing his game. We were on the rooftop, dining in full view of the Parthenon, enjoying some of the best Greek wines--and he made a tasting menu for us that was extraordinary. The focus was seafood and everything was off a fishing boat that afternoon.

If you could work with one chef, dead or alive…who would it be and why?
That would be the father of modern French cooking--Fernand Point--not only for his legendary reputation for the cuisine, but for his commitment, passion and utter dedication to the art form. I am pretty certain this would be a life altering stage.

Personal goal or fantasy not yet attained? Professional goal or fantasy not yet attained?
Personal Goal: to play jazz guitar in a small club group lead by Wynton Marsalis. Professional Goal: to contribute to the BIG idea that betters people’s lives through food.

What one behavior guarantees you’ll fire a sous chef?
Dishonesty

Were you ever fired? Where, when and why?
No, never.

City or country you'd most like to visit right now, for food?
Sydney, Australia—sounds like great fun.