After graduating Johnson & Wales University in 1991, Chef Christopher Ponte began his career at Pepper Mill Restaurant. The chef had been accommodating special requests for one of Pepper Mill Restaurant's picky patrons for many months. It always took extra work to conjure up off-menu items, but Christopher didn’t complain. He loved cooking. One day, the customer asked to meet the chef, and Christopher obligingly came to greet him at the table. As conversation casually flowed, the elderly gentleman asked, "What would the young man like to do in the future?"
Without hesitation, Christopher said, "Study in France."
Mere months later, thanks to the patronage of one very happy customer and Long Island retiree, Christopher Ponte enrolled at the Le Cordon Bleu culinary institute, one of France's most iconic schools. He made excellent use of his time there, returning to America to work in fine restaurants—including apprenticing at Paris' Taillevent. Chef Ponte returned stateside to work as a private chef for Leon Black, cooking for his three homes as well as coordinating catering efforts for private events. With this wealth of experience, in 2002, Chef Ponte opened Café Ponte. Awarded a Golden Spoon and a Zagat rating as one of the top area restaurants, his unabashedly adventuresome menu sizzles with European and Asian influences. The 250-seat dining room hosts its guests at intimate table tops or a zigzag bar which serves seasonal cocktails and 150-year-old Grand Marnier.