Celebrity chef Frances Tariga will be running the kitchen of a restaurant opening tomorrow in New York City called Trust Bae that has a mission of empowering women chefs.
It will be operated by SimpleVenue, a company led by restaurateurs Erika London and Michael Sinensky that specializes in small, upscale venues. They currently run 13 Sushi By Bou restaurants in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, and Florida as well as two Sushi Suite restaurants in New York City and Chicago, a kosher omakase restaurant in New York called Fins and Scales, and a plant-based omakase restaurant, also in New York, called Omakaseed.
Like all of those restaurants, Trust Bae will be an intimate counter-style tasting-menu concept. It will serve a $150 16-course tasting menu at its eight-seat counter. Each seating is for just 90 minutes.
Tariga, a Filipina-American who appeared on cooking shows Top Chef, Chopped, and Beat Bobby Flay, will offer food that reflects both her heritage and her work experience, which includes stints at Buddakan’s New York location, fine-dining Japanese restaurant Megu, Catch Hospitality Group, and Planta.
Her initial menu, which not-coincidentally debuts on International Women’s Day, includes shrimp tartare with yuzu, uni purée, and calamansi jelly topped with caviar, all served in 3D-printed hands. She also will serve binalot, or Filipino food served wrapped in banana leaves. Tariga’s version is made with sticky rice and king crab and served in a vinegary paksiw foam with crispy shallots. Her lumpia, or Filipino spring rolls, is stuffed with oxtail and served with truffle cream and radish.
The beverage program is being overseen by sommelier Lena Friedman, who is the owner of WineSwagger Consulting.
The rest of Trust Bae’s leadership team is also women: Director of marketing Alexis Carranza, regional general manager Amanda Mi, human resources and recruiting director Jessica Sanchez, and director of hospitality Monica Cabral. The interior designer is Diana Romeo.
This is only the first in what SimpleVenue hopes to be a series of restaurants meant to allow female chefs to develop their culinary repertoires. They plan to open more locations in New York, Chicago, and Miami within the year.
The chef of each restaurant will have equity in the location, and a spokesperson for the company said SimpleVenue would support spinoff restaurants with those chefs if the opportunities presented themselves.
"Trust Bae's mission is to entrust visionary women by giving them the space to leverage their unique personal and professional journeys to create distinct culinary experiences to be shared in a unique and intimate setting," London said in a press release announcing the new restaurant.
The release also said that TV personality Rachael Ray would be supporting and mentoring each of the chefs, without going into more detail.
"I am looking forward to guiding some of the next generation’s female cooks and chef powerhouses through their culinary journeys," Ray said in the release. "I believe in the power of building personal brands and leveraging them through the formation of new business models and I am excited to help scout and empower these up and coming talents."
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]