NEW YORK - Michael White is executive chef and co-owner of Altamarea Group. A Midwesterner who grew up in Wisconsin, he studied for seven years at Ristorante San Domenico in Imola, Italy, before returning to the United States. In 2007, he partnered with Ahmass Fakahany to form the Altamarea Group, whose award winning restaurants now stretch from London to Hong Kong, via Instanbul, Washington DC and, of course, New York City, where they now have seven, the first of which is the highly acclaimed Marea on Central Park West.

Where were you born?
Beloit, Wisconsin.

What was your best memory growing up?
Cooking with my dad, summers on Lake Michigan, fish fries and BBQs.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
A football player.

Where/what did you study?
Kendall Culinary Institute.

Any formal wine training?
No.

Michael White, chef and co-owner of the Altamarea Group.

Who was your mentor?
Chef Marcatilli and Gianluigi Morini at San Domenico in Imola, Italy.

What was the best advice you ever received?
Never give up.

What instantly brings a smile to your face?
My daughter, Francesca, and the thought of the Italian coast.

What instantly makes you frown?
Bad food.

What "addiction" would you most like to give up?
Late night eating.

What are you craving right now?
Pad thai and fried watercress with sweet and sour squid from SriPraPhai in Queens.

Chef Michael White.

Sunday: Brunch or Lunch?
Lunch.

Early to rise, late to bed; burn the candle at both ends?
Early to rise.

Diet or eat everything?
Everything.

What are you reading now?
My email...that never ends.

Favourite restaurant in the world?
Louis XV in Monaco, or anything Alain Ducasse in France

Favourite restaurant locally?
Wondee Siam.

Michael White.

Favourite city to visit?
Paris!

Favourite wine?
Red Burgundy.... Volnay Clos Des Ducs, D'Angerville and Dujac Clos St. Denis

Greatest achievement?
Altamarea Group's success with 13 restaurants globally, James Beard Award, Crain's 40 Under 40 Award.

Biggest disappointment?
That I have to make compromises throughout the day in the restaurants, not everything can be as perfect as I want it to be...

If you could choose your perfect last supper before leaving this world, what would it be, who would it be with and what would you drink with it?
Last meal... Any of the above wines wouldn't be bad! With my family... Close friends... Eating and drinking... It's what makes me happy.