Michael White

Chef

New York

While his soulful Italian cuisine indicates otherwise, Michael White isn’t an Italian native. In fact, he spent his childhood in Wisconsin; cooking was simply a family pastime. White decided to try culinary school, enrolling at Kendall Culinary Institute. A year later, he was prepping in Chicago’s most famous Italian restaurant, Spiaggia. White ventured to Italy, training with the venerated chef Valentino Marcattilii at Ristorante San Domenico. It was here that he began his Italian transformation, studying the hands-on, ingredient-driven cooking style. In 2001, White returned to Spiaggia as chef de cuisine. A year later, he moved to New York as executive chef of Fiamma Osteria. White is now the chef and owner of the Altamarea Group, which is comprised of 11 restaurants, including Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Marea.

  • On October 18, 2012
    Laurent Tourondel answered the question: Laurent Tourondel

    What are the best Italian restaurants in New York City?

    I don’t know if it is the best but I would say my favorite right now is Eataly because you can really get the feel of different concepts and different ideas and you can eat different food inside. Based on Italy that is important.
  • On October 18, 2012
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What are the best Italian restaurants in New York City?

    I’m married to an Italian and I cook at home. People have this idea that chefs are always outside eating in their restaurants. And it’s true, but it’s usually always something unhealthy late at night. Then, when we do cook, it’s usually at home. I mean, I cook with my daughter Francesca and I have to tell you, the last thing I want to eat is Italian food. I’m looking for wasabi, I’m looking for dumplings, chile, things like that. I’m going to pass on that question because the last time I had Italian food in New York City, I was at Patsy’s with a friend of mine and that is like a total throwback. Every Italian restaurant has its own niche.
  • On October 18, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    What are Eric Ripert's favorite cities to travel to?

    I love Paris, London, Tokyo, Barcelona. I grew up very close to Barcelona, from age 9 to 17, so I was spending all my weekends there. I love the integration of the antique part of the city with the more modern part of the city. I love the vibe and the ambience of the people there. And, there are a lot of good restaurants.
  • On October 18, 2012
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What are Eric Ripert's favorite cities to travel to?

    New York has been good to me. It’s such a vivacious city, so much happening here. There’s just so much more here — it’s such an international city. It’s what makes the restaurants great and what makes everything great — the dichotomy of different people that are here in the city. It allows chefs such as myself to do food that people can’t get elsewhere.
  • On October 18, 2012
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What are Eric Ripert's favorite cities to travel to?

    Hong Kong. For food people, there’s so much there to see. Everywhere you turn in Hong Kong, there are pork buns steaming in a basket. You go in the food courts, you go in these complexes, and the food quality is amazing. And then Singapore, Istanbul — I was just in Istanbul for the first time, and it’s just amazing there. The east/west kind of feel, and the food, it’s just amazing. I learn so much when I travel. Travel is knowledge. It broadens your horizons.
  • On September 27, 2012
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What does Michael White wear when he travels?

    Loose clothing. I usually wear long sleeves, like a long-sleeve Polo t-shirt or something like that. Some people really get dressed up to get on a plane. And you know, we’re very fortunate. You travel enough, and you get to ride up front. I’ll just stand there disheveled, like I look like I’ve gone three days without a hot shower. There are people who aren’t in business or first class that are really dressed up, so I feel really bad about that. I’m comfortable. I’m having the pork ramen soup at 5:00 in the morning, and everyone else is asleep because they’ve been drinking cognac and stuff like that. I stay right on-point, so when I get off that plane, I can go right into the kitchen.
  • On September 27, 2012
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What do you wear when you travel?

    Loose clothing. I usually wear long sleeves, like a long-sleeve Polo t-shirt or something like that. Some people really get dressed up to get on a plane. And you know, we’re very fortunate. You travel enough, and you get to ride up front. I’ll just stand there disheveled, like I look like I’ve gone three days without a hot shower. There are people who aren’t in business or first class that are really dressed up, so I feel really bad about that. I’m comfortable. I’m having the pork ramen soup at 5:00 in the morning, and everyone else is asleep because they’ve been drinking cognac and stuff like that. I stay right on-point, so when I get off that plane, I can go right into the kitchen.
  • On September 27, 2012
    Tony Abou-Gamin answered the question: Tony Abou-Gamin

    What do you wear when you travel?

    I would say my Crocs. Generally, I’m going to be doing something that involves tending bar, and my Crocs are like traveling with a bar mat. It’s going to be at a makeshift bar, or in front of a table, and it’s going to probably be at the wrong height and it probably won’t be anything but a hard cement floor for me to stand on. After three to six hours of doing this, not only are my feet killing me, my legs are killing me, my back is killing me. Having my Crocs assures me that I’m going to have some relief from all those obstacles or those situations. When I’m on the plane, it’s just really easy because if you travel a lot with security lines and you take your shoes off, put your shoes back on, it just makes it really easy to get in and out of security lines. And they’re just comfortable to travel in. It makes for an all-purpose, comfortable, that I can jam into my bar bag. I can throw them in the dishwasher at the end of the night, and they’re good to go.
  • On May 24, 2012
    Laurent Tourondel answered the question: Laurent Tourondel

    What are the five best things to see and do in New York City?

    1. Statue of Liberty

    2. Helicopter tour around Manhattan

    3. Central Park

    4. New York Opera

    5. I always recommend doing some fishing because I fish, so maybe trout fishing in Montauk or some trout fishing.
  • On May 24, 2012
    Raphael Pallais answered the question: Raphael Pallais

    What are the best places to stay in New York City?

    ©alexlopez The best places to stay in New York City are:

    1. The Plaza Hotel (768 Fifth Ave., 212-759-3000). It’s New York’s favorite hotel for the social and cultural elite, and it’s a bastion of luxury, charm and old-fashioned splendor in the city. Check out its ultra-modern gym, La Palestra.

    2. Four Seasons Hotel New York (57 E. 57th St., 212-758-5700). A grand and solemnly built hotel, its rooms are among the favorites for visitors. The hotel’s swanky modern, subterranean lair specializes in scientific-sounding treatments.

    3. Mandarin Oriental, New York (80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street, 212-805-8800). Tranquility is the predominant concern here, with breathtaking 35th-floor views of Manhattan and Eastern-inspired visuals and services.

    4. The Peninsula New York (700 Fifth Ave. at 55th Street, 212-956-2888). Asian-flavored décor in the room, a great spa offering $500 daylong packages, priceless skyline views and a fawning staff are made to order at this sun-drenched retreat. 5. The Ritz-Carlton, New York, Central Park (50 Central Park S. at Sixth Avenue, 212-308-9100). This is a jewel on Central Park with breathtaking views of the park and a unique Swiss spa, La Prairie.
  • On May 22, 2012
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What are the best things to see and do in New York City?

    Starting at the bottom, I would say getting on the Staten Island Ferry. It’s one of the great free things in the city. You can take shots of the Statue of Liberty, and it gives you real perspective. The views from Staten Island toward the city and Brooklyn are fabulous. I would definitely walk over the Brooklyn Bridge. I would walk to Central Park. It’s amazing how when you’re in the middle of Central Park, you really get the sense that you’re not in a big city because of the fact that it’s very quiet and peaceful. Then when you get to the edges, you start hearing the taxis and the horns. You smell the manure from the horses. You might smell hot dogs cooking on a hot dog cart. New York City is pretty awesome for all those things. Theater — you must see a show when you’re here. A lot of times, people come to the city because they have to go to a conference or do certain things. I actually had some friends in from Italy recently, and they said the greatest thing about New York City was that we had no plans. I think so many times when people go places, like to Italy or to New York, you have this set itinerary and you have to stay on it. The greatest part of the city is you can just live it the way New Yorkers do.
  • On May 22, 2012
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What are the best places to stay in New York City?

    I would stay at the Mark or the Carlyle because it’s away from Times Square, away from the regular hustle and bustle. All of a sudden, you could take a walk in the morning right out into Central Park and see how the Upper East Siders are waking up. Or you can go to the Bowery Hotel or the Rivington, or even the Thompson Hotel. That’s what’s cool about New York — you can get any kind of vibe you want. If you wanted to have a classic vibe, you could go to the Waldorf or the Essex House.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What do you wear when you travel?

    Loose clothing. I usually wear long sleeves, like a long-sleeve Polo t-shirt or something like that. Some people really get dressed up to get on a plane. And you know, we’re very fortunate. You travel enough, and you get to ride up front. I’ll just stand there disheveled, like I look like I’ve gone three days without a hot shower. There are people who aren’t in business or first class that are really dressed up, so I feel really bad about that. I’m comfortable. I’m having the pork ramen soup at 5:00 in the morning, and everyone else is asleep because they’ve been drinking cognac and stuff like that. I stay right on-point, so when I get off that plane, I can go right into the kitchen.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What do you wear when you travel?

    Loose clothing. I usually wear long sleeves, like a long-sleeve Polo t-shirt or something like that. Some people really get dressed up to get on a plane. And you know, we’re very fortunate. You travel enough, and you get to ride up front. I’ll just stand there disheveled, like I look like I’ve gone three days without a hot shower. There are people who aren’t in business or first class that are really dressed up, so I feel really bad about that. I’m comfortable. I’m having the pork ramen soup at 5:00 in the morning, and everyone else is asleep because they’ve been drinking cognac and stuff like that. I stay right on-point, so when I get off that plane, I can go right into the kitchen.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What are Michael White's favorite spas?

    I am so into anything self-pampering. I just had a Turkish scrub the other day. Amazing. The Lucky Plaza in Singapore has the absolute best foot massages — knuckle in the bottom of your foot piercing. You won’t fall asleep, but when you get up, you feel like you could do a half marathon. I like the barber at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, where you can get the dry shave.