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 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.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What’s on Michael White's travel playlist?

    There’s a whole mix of music. And you know, this day and age, you don’t even have to buy movies or anything. It’s usually on the back of the headrest on the plane. I could be listening to easy jazz or Stevie Ray Vaughn while writing recipes, or Jimi Hendrix.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What’s on Michael White's travel playlist?

    There’s a whole mix of music. And you know, this day and age, you don’t even have to buy movies or anything. It’s usually on the back of the headrest on the plane. I could be listening to easy jazz or Stevie Ray Vaughn while writing recipes, or Jimi Hendrix.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    Who’s Michael White's favorite traveling companion?

    That’s a hard question, but my wife. My child as well. And my partner, Ahmass Fakahany. We just went on 14 days together through Asia and Istanbul. So, we travel really well together. It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite. Wherever I go, if I’ve been there before, I enjoy whoever is going with me because I like to show and give my past experiences to the person. Wherever I go, if I have the opportunity, I love to show someone around.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    Who’s Michael White's favorite traveling companion?

    That’s a hard question, but my wife. My child as well. And my partner, Ahmass Fakahany. We just went on 14 days together through Asia and Istanbul. So, we travel really well together. It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite. Wherever I go, if I’ve been there before, I enjoy whoever is going with me because I like to show and give my past experiences to the person. Wherever I go, if I have the opportunity, I love to show someone around.
  • On November 12, 2011
    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 November 12, 2011
    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 November 12, 2011
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What are Michael White's favorite bars and lounges?

    Pegu Club. Julie Rainer is the bartender and she’s done a fabulous job. But I like drinks outside of the country. The Kona Kai Bar in London—having a beautiful drink made there. The Four Seasons in Hong Kong, the Blue Bar—beautiful. The hotel itself is fabulous, just gorgeous. The Four Seasons in Florence. I mean, drinks there and espresso. <br/><br/>Also, the InterContinental in Hong Kong for drinks. Unbelievable view.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What are Michael White's favorite bars and lounges?

    Pegu Club. Julie Rainer is the bartender and she’s done a fabulous job. But I like drinks outside of the country. The Kona Kai Bar in London—having a beautiful drink made there. The Four Seasons in Hong Kong, the Blue Bar—beautiful. The hotel itself is fabulous, just gorgeous. The Four Seasons in Florence. I mean, drinks there and espresso. <br/><br/>Also, the InterContinental in Hong Kong for drinks. Unbelievable view.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What are the best places for brunch in New York City?

    At Marea, we do it sort of at lunchtime, and there are a couple dishes that are not traditional, like the poached egg with crab. Most restaurants, when they call it ‘brunch’ in New York City, it’s a couple of courses. It’s maybe a bakery basket, a very nice omelet or market vegetables, so I think that type of brunch is alive and well. I might do dim sum in Chinatown, or go to dim sum at Chinatown Brasserie. On Sundays, Red Farm does a really, really great dim sum. Or, for brunch, something fun like Trestle on Tenth, or Five Points is classic. Cookshop on 10th Avenue. Those are actually owned by the same people that own Five Points, Hundred Acres and Cookshop. They’re really doing a fabulous job with brunch. And Minetta is an excellent spot.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What are the best places for brunch in New York City?

    At Marea, we do it sort of at lunchtime, and there are a couple dishes that are not traditional, like the poached egg with crab. Most restaurants, when they call it ‘brunch’ in New York City, it’s a couple of courses. It’s maybe a bakery basket, a very nice omelet or market vegetables, so I think that type of brunch is alive and well. I might do dim sum in Chinatown, or go to dim sum at Chinatown Brasserie. On Sundays, Red Farm does a really, really great dim sum. Or, for brunch, something fun like Trestle on Tenth, or Five Points is classic. Cookshop on 10th Avenue. Those are actually owned by the same people that own Five Points, Hundred Acres and Cookshop. They’re really doing a fabulous job with brunch. And Minetta is an excellent spot.
  • On November 12, 2011
    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 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 is the best time of the year to visit New York City?

    Spring and fall. It’s when the city is vivacious. It’s a buzzing metropolis. It never sleeps. That’s a great thing about New York City — you can do anything you want at anytime during the night. You can go to a bookstore in the middle of the night, you can go to a 24-hour grocery store. There’s just so much to do. Going to the zoo in Central Park, that’s awesome — especially on a date.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Michael White answered the question: Michael White

    What is the best time of the year to visit New York City?

    Spring and fall. It’s when the city is vivacious. It’s a buzzing metropolis. It never sleeps. That’s a great thing about New York City — you can do anything you want at anytime during the night. You can go to a bookstore in the middle of the night, you can go to a 24-hour grocery store. There’s just so much to do. Going to the zoo in Central Park, that’s awesome — especially on a date.