Chef Michael White Talks Girls, His Expansion to Asia, and Loving New York

We caught up with him after last week’s Identità demonstration
Chef Michael White Talks Girls, His Expansion to Asia, and Loving New York
Jessica Chou

Michael White

At last week’s Identità New York (with chef Gennaro Esposito, pictured above), chef Michael White mentioned that he went to Italy to “learn about pasta… and chicks.”

So when we chatted with him on the phone, we had to ask him what he picked up from Italy. His unsurprising tip for meeting girls in foreign countries? “Learn the language, you gotta learn the language,” he told us. “Wherever you go, if you want to deal with chicks, you gotta learn 'hello,' you gotta have game. If you don’t speak the language you can’t ask anybody out.”

White’s latest travels have taken him to Hong Kong where he opened Al Molo about six months ago. While he may not need to learn Cantonese, he’s definitely picked up some techniques for noodles, debuting a chow fun papardelle at Osteria Morini last week. “That was a family meal we have at Al Molo in Hong Kong and we just want to replicate it,” White said.

His Hong Kong restaurant isn’t going to be the last White-certified Italian restaurant overseas, but he won’t spill where he’s looking at next. “Asia is really a natural place to be,” he told us. “Italian food is the ethnic food of choice, really, because of the fact that there is a pasta and noodle culture, it’s natural to go do pasta in the Far East.”

Luckily, White isn’t planning on leaving New York anytime soon. “I’m in New York City, this is my dream. I have the best customers in the world,” he said. “New York City has been so good to me and to the team. I can’t imagine being anywhere but here.” Well, we can’t imagine New York without Marea, so right back at you, Michael.

The Daily Byte is a regular column dedicated to covering interesting food news and trends across the country. Click here for previous columns.