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He’s a TV star, author, executive chef and Brooklynite!
Bensonhurst native Michael Lomonaco was honored during Borough President Marty Markowitz’s Italian-American Heritage Month celebration for his contributions to the borough.
“It’s a privilege to be honored by the place I was born,” Lomonaco told this paper.
Lomonaco, who hosted “Epicurious” on the Travel Channel and “Michael’s Place” on the Food Network, is the executive chef and a partner at Porter House New York in Columbus Circle.
Even though Lomonaco resides in Manhattan to be closer to his restaurant, he’s still a Brooklyn boy through and through.
“Porter House New York may be in the ‘outer borough’ of Manhattan and his TV appearances may reach millions worldwide but he will always be a proud son of Bensonhurst,” Markowitz gushed.
Lomonaco got his culinary start while working as a cook at Lampi’s Venetian Room in Carroll Gardens.
“I think about that job every day,” Lomonaco said. “It was a really terrific learning experience for a new cook.”
The restaurant was a “home away from home” for Lomonaco while he attended City Tech’s hospitality and restaurant management program. The training obviously paid off. Lomonaco went on to several distinguished Manhattan restaurants, including 21 Club, Le Cirque and Windows on the World.
“Le Cirque was where I really learned and polished my cooking skills. I was a line cook,” Lomonaco explained. “I was the executive chef at the 21 Club for seven years.”
He later became the executive chef and chef director at Windows on the World, which was located in the World Trade Center.
“I was at Windows on the World during the last four years of its time. That was a tragic experience at the end when we lost so many of our coworkers on September 11th. It was a great restaurant to be at,” he said.
Lomonaco co-founded the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund and many Windows on the World staffers have joined him at Porter House New York.
Lomonaco has also given back by serving as a visiting distinguished professor at City Tech.
Even after working in some of Manhattan’s best restaurants, Lomonaco remains a fan of Brooklyn’s eateries.
“I visit Bensonhurst and Sheepshead Bay regularly. I go to Avenue U to Joe’s Focacceria. I’m out there once a month. I eat everything on the menu every time I go there,” the chef laughed.
“I stroll and nibble in Brighton Beach a lot,” he said. “I also get out to 18th Avenue. I gotta go to Alba Pastry! The new owners are doing a great job.”
His favorite Brooklyn haunt is Tomasso’s on 86th Street.
“They cook such authentic Italian food, especially around the holidays. They do special dishes for the holiday seasons,” he said. “It’s a dining gem.”
It’s not just restaurants that bring Lomonaco back to Brooklyn. He’s also a fan of the borough’s cultural offerings.
“I return often for museums and arts events at Brooklyn College. I return for things at the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.”
Of course, Lomonaco spends much of his time cooking. While the menu at Porter House New York features sophisticated and complex dishes, such as slow roasted Scottish salmon filet and duck steak with sugar apples and green peppercorn sauce, Lomonaco opts for quick and easy meals at home.
“The simpler the better,” he said. “Some pasta, some salad, some opera on the stereo, and I make the gravy. That’s a perfect Sunday for me.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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