Michael Lomonaco, Chef/Director - Biography
Michael Lomonaco has always put his passion for pristine,
seasonal, regional American ingredients first. No matter where
he cooked, it was the choice of ingredients that were primary,
followed closely by a firm understanding of classical technique
and, of course, that creative genius that has always set him
The course of Michael's career traces the thread of New American
cuisine, as it has been developed and refined over the last
few decades. In the mid '80s, he was in the center of it all
at Le Cirque, working under Master Chefs Alain Sailhac and
Daniel Boulud. By 1989, Michael was playing a major role in
the revitalization of the old New York establishment "21."
He stayed on there until 1996, turning the rather staid, clubby
restaurant into a modern American culinary destination that
helped to redefine fine dining in this country.
In 1997 Lomonaco was appointed Executive Chef/Director of
Windows on the World. He brought his cutting-edge American
cuisine with him, replacing what had been a French-inspired
menu with food that made diners and critics take note. Michael
eagerly took on responsibility for all culinary operations
at the Windows on the World complex, including the main dining
room, the intimate Wild Blue and the boisterous Greatest Bar
on Earth. In addition, he managed the kitchens for and oversaw
the Windows' private dining menus and operations.
At Wild Blue, Lomonaco invented a straightforward American
menu that offered diners a chance to share a casual meal made
with the finest ingredients and cooked with precision. At
Windows, his menus underscored a dedication to expressing
"the American spirit," with food that was confident,
creative, and filled with the best local products obtainable.
Through Michael's leadership, Windows On The World was transformed
into one of America's best-loved and highest grossing restaurants
three years in a row.
his time at Windows on the World, Michael helped owner David
Emil develop the wildly successful Latin Night, which gave
diners a first taste of the duo's passion for Latin American
cuisine, culture, and music. Latin Night sparked the creation
of Noche, with Lomonaco as Chef/Director of this multi-story,
midtown restaurant and nightclub featuring the vibrant culinary
traditions of Central and South America and the Caribbean.
Many former employees of Windows on the World in the World
Trade Center were hired at Noche when it opened in 2002. That
restaurant closed in September 2004, and Chef Lomonaco has
now moved to Guastavino's between 1st and York Avenues on
E. 59th St.
At the same time, you can always catch Michael Lomonaco on
TV. A former actor who is at ease in front of the camera,
Michael is the co-host of Epicurious, the Discovery Channel's
popular cooking program. He has also hosted "Michael's
Place" on the Food Network, writing concepts and recipes
for 140 episodes over three years. Michael has been a regular
guest on many late night and daytime talk shows as well as
cooking programs including "In Julia's Kitchen with Master
Chef Lomonaco is currently a visiting distinguished professor
at City University's New York Technical College. He participates
regularly in cooking demonstrations and food and wine events
that benefit a world of good causes, including Share our Strength,
City Harvest, and the March of Dimes. He is a primary founder
of the Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund, which has gathered
Finally, Michael is the co-author of The "21" Cookbook,
published in 1995 by Doubleday, and he has contributed to
dozens of national magazines. His new cookbook, Nightly
Specials: 125 Recipes for Spontaneous, Creative Cooking at
Home (Wm. Morrow) has just been released.