LUCKILY FOR THOSE with a sweet tooth, Michael Mignano pursued his love of cooking and baking rather than following his first inclination to forge a career in medicine. Today he creates whimsically tempting desserts as executive pastry chef at New York City’s The Pierre, A Taj Hotel.
At the hotel’s signature restaurant, Perrine, opened in 2016, Mignano complements the restaurant’s indulgent nature with reimagined versions of classic flavor pairings. Growing up, meals shared with family and helping his grandparents sell their produce at farmers markets as well as his exposure to diverse culinary experiences in his hometown in Queens led him to the kitchen. He’s worked with Bill Yosses, a former White House pastry chef; developed the Mignano Bar, a gourmet candy bar; appeared on the Food Network; worked at various NYC favorites, including Charlie Palmer’s Steakhouse and Balthazar; and became the youngest pastry chef at The Pierre when he joined the team in 1998 at age 23.
When Perrine opened, both Executive Chef Ashfer Biju and Mignano drew inspiration from the seasons, creating clean, distinct dishes that allow the ingredients to shine. The restaurant’s neutral color palette and bold accents highlight the playful cuisine.
WHICH DESTINATIONS INSPIRED YOU, AND HOW HAS THAT INSPIRATION TRANSLATED INTO YOUR CULINARY CONCEPTS?
I have always been inspired by Italy and its robust outdoor markets. Looking at such an array of fresh produce and local game, the menu basically writes itself. You can’t go wrong.
WHOM DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR CULINARY HERO?
David Bouley — my very first job at 19 was working at his restaurant on Duane Street in New York City. I learned you should never limit your abilities as a chef. He also taught me the importance of knowing all the inner workings of a restaurant. Even when you’re the chef, you should always be able to work any station at any time.
WHAT ONE PERSON MOST INFLUENCED YOUR COOKING STYLE, AND HOW?
My Aunt Francy was a huge influence on me. Growing up in Astoria in Queens and spending summers with her and my family at our home on the North Fork of Long Island really gave me an appreciation for harnessing the flavors of local, seasonal ingredients. If you have a good product to start, you don’t have to over-season or blend in too many flavors.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FOOD CITY?
New York City — we have everything, and I mean everything. So much variety, especially in the boroughs; the city has always been a melting pot, and with that comes fantastically diversified cuisine. Delicious!
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE NEXT BIG TREND ON THE FOOD SCENE WILL BE?
I think there is always room to continue refining street and comfort foods. I also believe you can get so much more flavor and authenticity in these dishes just by using better-quality ingredients and tighter presentations. You can always create a better culinary attraction.
THE PIERRE, A TAJ HOTE
2 E. 61st St.
New York, NY 10065
tel 212 838 8000
Step right up to the greatest show on Earth as FXExpress Publications, Global Traveler, trazeetravel.com and whereverfamily.com celebrate their 2020 award winners! Join the big top on Dec. 14 as we virtually award the winners of the 17th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards, including the Airline and Hotel of the Year; the 17th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Survey; the eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards; the sixth annual The Trazees; and the third annual Wherever Awards.
I had just taken off my sandals, stepping onto the white-sand beach for a late-morning walk to a secluded spot I heard about from a front desk clerk, when I glanced down and saw the time on my phone. It had just turned 11 a.m., which meant it was only 7 am back home, the perfect time to call and say good morning to by husband before he left for work. Not quite ready to head back to my room, I decided I’d test the WiFi signal and made the call as I continued walking toward the shoreline.
San Antonio celebrated 300 years of progress in May 2018. With a clear vision following that anniversary year, the Texan city set its sights firmly on 300 more. While commemorating this milestone, the city underwent a major overhaul to prepare for the next phase in its history.
Are you looking for a truly unique travel experience and considering a new vehicle? The Volvo Overseas Delivery Program is the perfect solution to create your own refined adventure of a lifetime. You can custom order your new Volvo, tailored to fit your needs and desires. They will fly you to Sweden to pick up your Volvo so you can drive and explore Scandinavia and Europe on your terms for up to two weeks.
When you think of a relaxing spa day, mountains, rivers and view of gorgeous landscapes pop in your head; a place to get away from the hustle and bustle of any city’s booming music and honking taxis. SoJo Spa Club and Hotel gives you the relaxing feeling of being away while still staying close to the busy center of Manhattan.
Dance the night away with Grand Hotel’s Ballroom Dance offer, available May 16–18. Dancers of all skill levels will experience a diverse range of ballroom dance styles, alongside daily breakfast and dinner, a welcome reception and complimentary golf green fees.