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Frank Pellegrino Jr.- Bringing Rao’s To the People

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Being a successful restaurateur is never easy. Being the son of a legendary restaurateur sounds like it might be easier but not always. This is especially true when your name is Frank Pellegrino Jr. and your dad, Frank, Sr., runs New York City’s toughest table-to-book in town, Rao’s (pronounced RAY-ohs). We’ve never snagged a table at Rao’s NYC, which is on our dining bucket list. I think tables  end up in the wills of its regulars.   It takes (meat) balls to follow in the footsteps of Frank Sr., and Frank Pellegrino Jr. (“Frankie” to Rao’s regulars) has done just that overseeing  Rao’s Caesars […]

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Connecting with Chef Alon Shaya

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Chef Alon Shaya was born in Israel, raised in Philadelphia and now lives in New Orleans where he oversees the kitchens at Domenica, Pizza Domenica and his namesake Shaya Restaurant, and is a partner in both with Besh Restaurant Group. He credits cooking with his mother and grandmother for fueling his career in food and the Culinary Institute of America for giving him his formal education. Alon was working as an intern at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas when he met Octavio Mantilla, a co-owner of Besh Restaurant Group. Octavia recruited him to New Orleans, and Chef /Restaurateur John Besh […]

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El Jefe of Nuevo Latino Cuisine- Chef Douglas Rodriguez

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He’s been called “the godfather of Nuevo Latino cooking” by media and food industry cognoscenti.  His dishes pack a “pow” in flavor, texture and color. I first became familiar with Chef Douglas Rodriguez’s muy sabroso culinary style when he was still in his tender twenties cooking “upscale Cuban” food at his restaurant YUCA (an acronym for “Young Cuban Americans”) in Miami. The James Beard Foundation Awards took notice early on and nominated him twice for Rising Star Chef of the Year; he won the award in 1996. Doug exploded into the competitive New York City restaurant scene with Patria, where he […]

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In Maui’s Upcountry- Our Favorite Dining Destination

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David and I are big fans of the Hawaiian island Maui, We are longtime Starwood Vacation Property owners at the Westin Kaanapali, and we try to visit at least once a year. While many people who visit Maui hang out on the beach or enjoy the multitude of water sports, we like to venture upcountry around the slopes of Haleakula and beyond to visit the local farms, hike and explore the cowboy town of Makawao. A trip to upcountry often includes a visit to Beverly and Joe Gannon’s Hali’imaile General Store for lunch or a drink at the bar (voted the […]

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The How of TAO- Secrets of a Top Grossing Restaurant

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TAO: the process of nature by which all things change and which is to be followed for a life of harmony (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tao)  Tao (pronounced “dao”) means literally “the path” or “the way.” It is a universal principle that underlies everything from the creation of galaxies to the interaction of human beings. The workings of Tao are vast and often beyond human logic. In order to understand Tao, reasoning alone will not suffice. One must also apply intuition. What’s it like to oversee the kitchens at the highest grossing independent restaurant in America? We’ll ask Ralph Scamardella, Executive Chef and Partner for […]

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The Dutchess is Waiting

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A short train ride just about two hours north of Manhattan lies a verdant world of rolling hills dotted with apple orchards, horse farms, vineyards, hiking trails, mom and pop storefronts selling locally made items and even an old-fashioned roadside drive-in movie theater. Tucked away among towering tree-lined drives are historic mansions with names like Roosevelt and Vanderbilt, as well stately homes of lesser known captains of the industry who retreat to Dutchess County to relax or ride to the hounds. We recently took a day trip to Dutchess County to attend the 13th annual Hudson Valley Wine & Food […]

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