"Wayne Brachman does great American desserts with an excess after my own heart." -- Gael Greene, New York Magazine
Wayne Harley Brachman: author, middle school orchestra teacher, record producer, performance artist and pastry chef extraordinaire. It was a circuitous route that led Brachman to become one of America's favorite pastry chefs.
The launch of his professional career in the arts influenced Brachman's inspired and unparalleled imagination seen in his desserts. His brother, a chef, encouraged him to try his hand in the culinary industry when budget cuts threatened his teaching position at Ridgewood Junior High School in Queens. He relocated to Northampton, Massachusetts and while working the line in a small restaurant there, the pastry chef walked out. Having a keen sense of when opportunity is knocking, Brachman jumped right in and started on the road that would indulge his passion for sweets, his need for creativity and also incorporate his education as a teacher and performer.
Completely self-taught, Brachman landed stints as the pastry chef at The Odeon and Arizona 206. For nine years he collaborated with Bobby Flay at Mesa Grill and Bolo, earning numerous accolades for the restaurants and himself. Following his tenure at Mesa Grill and Bolo, he served as executive pastry chef at Tapika, Michael Jordan's, Strip House and directed the wildly popular bakery at Pershing Square Café.
Brachman is a popular figure on television, frequently appearing on national and local news and morning shows. His feature role on Food Network's "Sweet Dreams" and four years as co-host of "Melting Pot" endeared him to millions of cooking fans across the country. Additionally, as a well-respected colleague, he's a recurring invited guest on shows with Sara Moulton, Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay.
His professional training as both a teacher and a performer, combined with an inherent sense of comic timing, make Brachman's live demonstrations and cooking classes irresistible. His knowledge of the intricacies of pastry results in irresistible creations as well. He is a contributor to Food Arts, Time Out New York, and Life. He and his recipes are frequently featured in Food & Wine, Gourmet, New York Magazine, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Daily News, Food Arts and Art Culinaire.
Wayne Harley Brachman is author of See Dad Cook (Potter, 2006) American Desserts (Potter, 2003) Retro Desserts (Morrow, 2000), Cakes & Cowpokes (Morrow, 1996). For these books, his inspiration is the combination of flavor and nostalgia of American desserts, and he adds for restaurant patrons a love of innovation and surprise. Time Out New York ranked Brachman among the ten best in the City. In 1998 he was voted one of the top ten pastry chefs in America by Chocolatier and Pastry Art & Design. In 2000 he became the first American pastry chef invited to the Salon Chocolat in Paris. Gael Greene declared, "He is my hero."
Over the years Michael Lomonaco and Brachman became respected colleagues as their career paths crossed. They discovered a shared philosophy and passion for American classics, both sweet and savory. Brachman is noted as being flamboyant, iconoclastic, inventive and inspiring; an integral part and contributor to the new Porter House New York.
Chef de Cuisine
Over the last 25 years, Porter House New York’s Michael Ammirati has cooked in some of New York City’s most iconic restaurants, and witnessed firsthand the evolution of the American dining experience. Prior to the October 2006 opening of Porter House New York, Ammirati worked closely with Michael Lomonaco in its creation; from menu development, to refining the ‘modern’ steakhouse concept to functionality and design ideas.
Executive chef and managing partner Michael Lomonaco has said of Ammirati, “he is not only a highly talented and thoughtful chef, but the most hardworking and dedicated chef to be found anywhere”. The mutual trust , tastes and talents that cross between Ammirati and Lomonaco developed over years of working together, through a collaboration that began at The “21” Club, and continued on at Windows on the World.
Ammirati spent his formative restaurant years at Arizona 206 and La Cote Basque after graduating in 1984 from the Culinary Institute of America. During his tenure at Arizona 206 and other of Brandon Walsh’s restaurants, he saw firsthand the rise of the celebrity chef movement. Under the tutelage of Jean Jacques Rachou at Le Cote Basque, Ammirati explored new gastronomical possibilities with innovative food preparation and presentation.
In 1992 Michael Lomonaco appointed Ammirati as sous chef at The “21” Club, their close friendship and culinary collaboration was off to a start that has persisted through today. This friendship and working partnership, built upon mutual admiration and professionalism and rooted in deep knowledge of restaurant lore and operations, has served them well. As Lomonaco’s second in command, Ammirati is responsible for management of the kitchen and culinary staff, food purchasing (including the all-important prime beef), as well as being a key member of the senior management team. With over 16 years, and thousands of meals between them, Ammirati has a keen understanding of Lomonaco’s culinary vision. Ammirati’s impeccable daily execution of Porter House New York’s food and service makes it the world class experience it strives to maintain.
The perfect chemistry of Chefs Ammirati and Lomonaco has made Porter House New York a premiere restaurant destination in New York City and a star in the Restaurant Collection at Time Warner Center.