HC: What excites you most about joining the Andaz team as Executive Chef?
CM: I love being back in NYC, my hometown. Plus, Andaz is such a new and exciting brand for Hyatt, and as a chef, I feel very fortunate to be a part of this concept. I believe their food and beverage concept presses directly on the pulse of today's diners and travelers, making my job that much easier.
HC: What changes, if any, will be coming to the Andaz 5th Ave menus?
CM: Menus change all the time. The chefs and I go to the farmers market weekly, at least. We just added a classic—Braised Lamb Shank with Creamy Polenta and Roasted Cippolini Onions—to the shop menu. A roasted cauliflower dish will also be added to the menu to make our vegetarian patrons smile for sure.
HC: Are there any foods that you particularly love or particularly hate?
CM: I love to eat everything. A favorite would have to be Sunday dinner with my family. Usually my godmother or aunt or uncle will cook up a storm—I just get to relax, drink wine and taste everything! Food for me is always an adventure so I really can’t think of anything I hate.
HC: Name one hotel meal (anywhere in the world) that sticks out in your mind.
CM: One of my favorite days ever was when I traveled to Germany. The Hyatt Regency Cologne has a beer garden, which the chef invited us to the last day of service. We drank beer and ate Weiner Schnitzel and Bratwurst. We were surrounded by hundreds of Germans having a great time till the sun went down. I thought it was hilarious that the chef had four beers and then went back to work in the kitchen!
[Photos: Andaz Fifth Avenue]