Michael Romano is a Partner and Director of Culinary Development for Union Square Hospitality Group. He joined Union Square Cafe as Executive Chef in 1988, and six months later The New York Times elevated the restaurant to three stars. Since then, Michael has earned numerous accolades, including James Beard awards for “Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America” and “Best Chef: New York”, as well as Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chef in America”. Under his leadership, USC received the #1 ranking on the Zagat Survey Most Popular list an unprecedented nine times. Michael has co-authored two cookbooks with Danny Meyer, The Union Square Cafe Cookbook and Second Helpings (both HarperCollins). Michael’s newest cookbook is Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from our Restaurants to your Home, a compilation of “family meal” recipes from USHG’s restaurants (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Spring 2013).
In addition to his role at Union Square Cafe, Michael is Director of Culinary Development for Union Square Hospitality Group, which includes some of the most highly acclaimed restaurants in NYC: Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard, Shake Shack, The Modern, Cafe 2 and Terrace 5 at The Museum of Modern Art, Maialino, Untitled at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and North End Grill, as well as Union Square Events and Hospitality Quotient, a learning business. In 2012, Michael developed a series of premium, cold-pressed juices for Creative Juice, a new cafe launched by USHG and Equinox offering flavorful, nutritious, and convenient eating and drinking choices to Equinox members and non-members alike. In addition to being responsible for the development of culinary programs and kitchen design across all of USHG, Michael continues to collaborate closely with Union Square Cafe’s Executive Chef Carmen Quagliata and helps select and mentor USHG’s peerless team of award-winning chefs. In addition, he is directly responsible for USHG’s role in Union Square Tokyo.