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Momofuku Taps Paul Carmichael for a Restaurant and a New Direction

by белый

The former chef at Momofuku Seiobo in Sydney, Australia, returns to New York to play a key role in shaping the company.

In 2015, in the back of Star Casino in Sydney, Australia, Paul Carmichael began something extraordinary. As the new chef at Momofuku Seiobo, the first of David Chang’s Momofuku restaurants outside the United States, Mr. Carmichael turned what had been a fine-dining venue with European, American and Asian influences into a bastion of thoughtful Caribbean cooking. Waiters wearing tie-dyed shirts served a tasting menu that included cou-cou with caviar, and beef patties stuffed with bone marrow and abalone.

It was an unlikely convergence of time, place and talent: a Barbados-born chef at an American-owned restaurant making world-class Caribbean food in Australia. In a casino. But something about Mr. Carmichael, the team he built and the Momofuku brand conjured magic. Seiobo was named Restaurant of the Year in 2016 by Gourmet Traveller magazine. Mr. Carmichael was also the magazine’s Chef of the Year in 2020, and the restaurant received glowing reviews in local, national and international publications.

Australian food obsessives were dismayed when, in 2021, Momofuku and Mr. Chang decided not to renew a lease with Star Casino. Seiobo closed, and Mr. Carmichael stayed on with Star as an executive sous-chef overseeing operations of the casino’s food venues.

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Now he’s headed to New York City, where the Momofuku company has tapped Mr. Carmichael to play a key role in overseeing restaurant operations companywide. He’ll start with a new restaurant in the East Village space that housed Momofuku Ko until last October.

“There are only two reasons to open a new restaurant,” said the company’s chief executive, Marguerite Zabar Mariscal, noting that Momofuku has not opened anything since the pandemic began. “One is having a really great concept. The other, which is much rarer, is a talent like Paul that you can build around.”

Mr. Carmichael will “be instrumental in shaping the next generation of chefs at Momofuku,” Mr. Chang said this week by email. “Having him back in the States means more than just being closer to Paul’s food; we want him to build a legacy through mentorship.”

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