We had a special opportunity to meet and interview the chefs at Carmine’s, the world-famous Italian family restaurant in Times Square. We sat down with Glenn Rolnick, the director of culinary operations of Alicart Restaurant Group, and Michael Ingino, executive chef at Carmine’s in Las Vegas. We could tell that they are very passionate about their jobs. They love to put a smile on the customer’s face by creating delicious meals for them to enjoy.
One of the first questions we asked was what does it take to make a great chef. Chef Glenn told us: “Listening to the customers and basically trying different things. Being able to know how to cook a little and then go from there and create more things. You really have to learn the basic stuff and then have fun creating different things. And when the customer’s happy that’s what makes us happy.”
We asked them how they got started and they both told us it started at a young age. Glenn said, “I probably started cooking about 14 or 15 because both my parents worked and it was like what do you want to throw together for dinner? So it kind of became me because I enjoyed it and I kind of gravitated towards it. I like to cook anything. My mother would pick up the food. At that point I wasn’t shopping so she picked it up. She said I have a steak do you want to put it together so it’s . . . you have fun. You kind of play and create.”
Michael told us, “I started working at a pizzeria at 14. My parent’s friends owned a pizzeria and they made it work.”
Since Carmine’s is such a popular place (the restaurant was packed the day we were there) we asked if they have ever cooked for any celebrities. Michael said, “The most famous person in Vegas so far, I would say Jennifer Lopez. Reba McEntire was there, too.”
Glenn said, “We have Mike Tyson, Emmett Smith. It’s pretty common here but that part is still fun. We have tennis people here, a lot of athletes. We’re right by ‘Good Morning America,’ and we get people from there. When I was a chef at the UN Plaza I cooked for presidents and diplomats and a lot of famous people, but here once in a while you get baseball players, football players, basketball players and actors. It’s fun. It gives me a thrill when I hear who’s here for dinner, or whose coming, or who was there and I missed them, that’s the part I hate, but it’s fun.”
But now the fun began. They helped us to create one of the restaurant’s most popular desserts: The Titanic. This was the biggest dessert we have ever seen! We could only finish 1/10 of it! The Titanic is made out of five giant scoops of ice cream, bananas, cookies, whipped cream, strawberries, pineapples, nuts, and a big brownie. This is really a dessert for a family or group to share. It was so much fun and so delicious.
The Times Square location is one of their busiest restaurants, so they need 60 cooks in the kitchen! Food is served family-style which means you order a few entrees and everyone at the table shares them. If you are ever in Manhattan, we would highly recommend that you eat at Carmine’s. Carmine’s is located at 200 W. 44th St. between 7th and 8th avenues