Although Michael White’s soulful, flavorful interpretations of Italian cuisine indicate otherwise, Michael is in fact a Midwesterner who spent his childhood in Beloit, Wisconsin. By whim or intuition, White decided to enroll in Kendall Culinary Institute and then secured a position in Chicago’s Spiaggia. He studied for seven years at the acclaimed San Domenico in Imola before returning to the United States. In 2007, White partnered with Ahmass Fakahany, to open Due Terre in New Jersey. In 2008, White opened Due Mari. One year later, Fakahany and White officially formed the Altamarea Group to open Marea, which garnered three stars from The New York Times, and now holds two Michelin Stars, in addition to a Best New Restaurant Award by GQ magazine. In April of 2010, Chef White was named one of the ‘40 Most Influential New Yorkers Under 40’ by Crain’s New York Business, and received the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in the country for Marea.
Just a year later, in October 2010, the Altamarea Group opened Osteria Morini in downtown Manhattan and Ai Fiori in midtown, which received three stars from The New York Times as well as one Michelin Star.
In May 2011, Michael and the Altamarea Group opened Al Molo in Hong Kong. By virtue of greatness, many awards have been granted upon Altamarea Group properties including Marea’s 2012 ZAGAT #1 Italian Restaurant NY Award, Ai Fiori’s Best New Restaurant in Esquire Magazine 2011 and ZAGAT 2012 #1 New Restaurant NYC.
Altamarea Group opened Nicoletta Pizzeria in New York City’s East Village in June 2012. In May 2013, Chef White received his fourth nomination for James Beard Best Chef: New York and the Altamarea Group opened their fifth Manhattan location, Costata in Soho. Michael released his second cookbook, “Classico e Moderno,” written with Andrew Friedman, with a foreward by Thomas Keller.
In September of 2013, the Altamarea Group opened Chop Shop, its first London location in Haymarket, followed by its first Istanbul location called Morini in October. In November 2013, it opened Osteria Morini in Washington D.C., and opened Ristorante Morini on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in December.
In the Fall of 2014, Altamarea Group took over the food and beverage operations at The Bedford Post Inn, a Relaix & Chateaux property in Westchester County, owned by Richard Gere and Russell Hernandez; the two restaurants there are The Barn and Campagna. In January of 2015, AMG opened a second outpost of Nicoletta in Bernardsville, NJ next door to Osteria Morini. In September of 2015, Altamarea Group opened Vaucluse, a modern and stylish French brasserie on Park Avenue. The Group’s latest project is a third outpost of Nicoletta in the King of Prussia, PA mall.