Straussman Mark - Strausman, Mark

Mark Strausman

Biography

For more than a decade, Chef Mark Strausman has guided the culinary operations at the world-renowned Barneys, with its flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York and expansions across the country. “I always wanted to be a chef at a place that people regularly visit, rather than one they only go to for their anniversaries,” Strausman says. “Freds is versatile, you can come in for a chopped salad and a glass of iced tea, or you can order half the menu and share a bottle of Dom Pérignon. My culinary philosophy is to be... READ MORE

For more than a decade, Chef Mark Strausman has guided the culinary operations at the world-renowned Barneys, with its flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York and expansions across the country. “I always wanted to be a chef at a place that people regularly visit, rather than one they only go to for their anniversaries,” Strausman says. “Freds is versatile, you can come in for a chopped salad and a glass of iced tea, or you can order half the menu and share a bottle of Dom Pérignon. My culinary philosophy is to be creative with the best ingredients possible, but also not mess with them too much.”Native New Yorker Strausman grew up in a modest Queens neighborhood. After his father passed away when Strausman was in his early teens, he assumed the family cooking chores. After graduating from New York City Technical College in 1982 with a degree in hotel and restaurant management, Strausman headed to Frankfurt, Germany, for an externship at the five-star Grandhotel Hessischer Hof. He continued to school himself in Europe for four years, honing his skills at places such as Le Montreux Palace in Switzerland and the Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam. Strausman returned to New York in 1986, and it wasn’t long before prominent restaurateur Pino Luongo named him executive chef at Sapore di Mare in The Hamptons, which attracted the likes of Ralph Lauren, Jackie Onassis, Roy Lichtenstein, and Bianca Jagger. In 1990, Strausman began running the kitchen at Luongo’s Coco Pazzo, favored by musicians from Bobby Short to Jerry Garcia. He nextopened his own restaurant in the Flatiron District, the highly acclaimed Campagna, which began its successful 10-year run in 1994. During that period, the now-seasoned chef/restaurateur began his association with the Barneys organization, initially running Barneys Restaurant and later becoming managing director of Freds, an ambitious dining concept the company eventually introduced to other cities, beginning with Chicago in 2009. Strausman is the author The Campagna Table (William Morrow, 1999) and The Freds Cookbook as well as co-author of James Beard Award-nominated Two Meatballs in the Italian Kitchen (Artisan, 2007). He has been a frequent guest on the Food Network and has appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “The Today Show,” and “CBS This Morning,” among others.

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What is your favorite NYC restaurant? And what is your go-to dish? My favorite restaurant is Taverna Kyclades, a Greek place located in Astoria. I love it because it's very authentic and feels like you are in Greece. What is your ultimate meal? My ultimate meal would have to be Grilled Frutti di Mare on the Italian seaside. What three things are always in your pantry? I always have olive oil, French red wine vinegar, and turmeric. If you weren't a chef, what would you be? I can't imagine myself doing anything else! If you could cook with anyone, who would that be? I think it would be great to cook with actress, Catherine Keener. What’s your favorite NYCWFF memory? My favorite NYCWFF memory hands down is making pasta on the piers and reflecting on how much food has grown in this country since I started.