After Danny Meyer opened Maialino in the relatively chi-chi Gramercy Park Hotel 2009, chef Nick Anderer and his pasta-making minions cultivated its bustling scene of regulars. As of January, there's now a private chef's table in the wine room for anyone looking to get to know his food on a more intimate, $150 tasting menu level. First, meet the Roman trattoria talent in this week's Class Photo.
Nick Anderer, 32
Hails from: Upper West Side, now Stuyvesant Town
Executive chef: What I think about most: "Making delicious food day in day out with simple ingredients and keeping a happy staff."
Is it important to you to hire female cooks? “I didn’t make a conscious decision to hire x amount of women, or x amount of guys, but as it started happening I realized it does have a value in a kitchen. Especially in a really testosterone-driven environment, it’s cool to have some women to balance it out a little bit, and keep all the boys sane."
Off-hours: “I love surfing and body boarding. I don’t get to do a whole lot of that in New York in the wintertime, but I’m heading out to Hawaii in a couple days for my first vacation in a while."
Terry Coughlin, 40
Hails from: New Jersey
General Manager: "Everyday you feel like you show up and you’re with your favorite people. I’m excited about our wine program right now. We just expanded our list, and created a whole new program with the wines of Northeast Italy for our enomatic program."
Off-hours: “I spend a lot of time with my wife and I have two children. I’ve also been collecting autographs for 20 years, so I have an expansive collection. My most prized—if I had to pick one—would be a Paul McCartney signed album cover of Abbey Road. I had the opportunity to meet him when he came to Gramercy Tavern maybe ten years ago."
Joe Tarasco, 28
Hails from: Westchester, now Cobble Hill
Sous chef: “We have some beautiful Spanish prawns coming on the menu with Romanesco cauliflower. I’m very excited about that."
Off-hours: "I’m recovering from surgeries right now as a result of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I tore a ligament in my thumb and I tore my labrum in my left shoulder. I’d like to go back for more. Unfortunately the need for four healthy extremities in the kitchen is essential for success, so I might have to find something a little bit more gentle: Maybe swimming or yoga."
Lena Ciardullo, 26
Hails from: Outside of Chicago, Hoboken
Line cook: “I went for my undergraduate degree in communications and gender studies and then studied abroad in Italy and got really into food. It’s much better than sitting in a desk all day.”
Off-hours: “I just got a puppy so I do a lot of playing with her. Her name is Blanche after 'The Golden Girls'. She’s an Amstaff, like a smaller pit bull.”
Danielle Sitsis, 21
Hails from: Outside Philadelphia, now Washington Heights
Line cook: “As soon as I could reach the counter I was cooking with my grandmother. I come from a Greek and Irish background so she was always cooking.”
Cool ancestry, did you have interesting fusion foods? “The Irish was more like the drinking part. The Greek side came out with my grandmother’s pastries, like spinach pie, and the homey cooking, and braises."
Off-hours: “I like to go to other restaurants to check out the scene. One of the best recent ones was Daniel—I haven’t even had a tasting menu yet—we went into their lounge. The different ingredients that they use—it really was inspiring.”
Related stories on The Feast:
The Essential Guide to Unusual Pasta
Pool Sharks, Playwrights, and Fascinating Characters in New York Restaurants