Though chef Nadege Fleurimond was once forced to stretch her culinary creativity as a contestant on Food Network's Chopped, she experiments in the kitchen every day. Her menus blend a unique array of American, French, Italian, Latin, and Caribbean recipes into dishes for all on- and off-camera occasions. Her culinary teams follow her instructions to build international entrees and desserts, passed appetizers, and cocktails during festive buffets and lavish sit-down dinners.
When Chef Nadege and her staff aren’t traveling to events all over the East Coast, they host local group cooking lessons. These informal classes have taught guests to decorate cakes, simmer Thai curries, and cook traditional Caribbean dishes. They also host regular events, such as themed dinner parties and knitting circles using handmade pasta.
Inside the kitchen of TriniSoul, students get the opportunity to face down the scotch bonnet—a lantern-shaped pepper that smolders with 50 times more heat than a jalapeño. The heavy-duty pepper is just one of the extraordinary ingredients introduced to students by Chef D, a Caribbean native who holds court during cooking classes that center around the recipes she grew up enjoying. Her foray into culinary instruction started as a few simple classes on the cuisine of Trinidad and Tobago, but her teaching style developed a rabid following, and Chef D's curriculum has grown to cover many types of Caribbean cuisine as well as American-style soul fare. More than 6,000 students have enrolled in Chef D's classes, which can accommodate groups of up to 24 in TriniSoul's kitchen as well as private instruction in one's own kitchen or properly equipped subway car.
The culinary experts at Lioni Italian Heroes assemble more than 150 menu offerings, including more than 70 heroes. The shop’s sandwiches, each named after or previously spoken to by a famous Italian figure, combine Monteleone and Cammareri breads with a slew of fresh ingredients. House-made mozzarella augments heroes, and platters of sandwiches or breakfast items feed groups of up to 25 people.
Rawia Bishara didn't learn her way around the kitchen at culinary school. Instead, she helped her mother cook old world Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, hosted a plethora of dinner parties, and spent the past fourteen years running her own restaurant, Tanoreen. There, she and her staff fuse her mother’s traditional recipes with her own modern touches, creating a medley of past and present more satisfying than a founding-fathers rap battle. The resulting spreads range from classics, such as hummus and falafel, to more unusual flavors such as okra stewed with tomato and lamb, fried striped bass with tahini dipping sauce, and the many creative lamb dishes that prompted New York Magazine to proclaim, "Visiting Tanoreen without ordering lamb in some form seems as perverse as skipping the porterhouse at Peter Luger." As diners savor their meals, they can sip Arabic coffee with tequila and hazelnut, pistachio martinis, and other concoctions from the full bar.
Almost a century ago, Lou G. Siegel founded his eponymous company and then migrated to the Garment District to feed its denizens with delicious kosher fare. The tradition of stacked deli sandwiches, matzo-ball soup, and gourmet entrees continues today through Lou G Siegel's catering commissary, which supplies events big and small with gourmet kosher meals, buffets, and à la carte items. Lou's Big Apple clients have included the New York Hilton, the New York Stock Exchange, and King Kong's going-away party, but its meals can also be shipped anywhere in the United States for travelers or to the doorsteps of hosts in need of traditional Shabbos or holiday dishes.
Kids hearts start racing as soon as they see Kids 'N Action's murals, which depict cartoon friends cruising on a railroad and careening around a racetrack. At this indoor playground, wee ones bring those scenes to life. They hop on a train that meanders around the soft-play structure, where kids scramble through tunnels and zip down slides on four different levels. The go-karts on the track zoom at safe speeds, and toddlers play in their own designated section. An onsite arcade hosts games that aren't peppered with violence or breaking-news interruptions, while the sustenance prepared at the cafe is kept strictly kosher.