By Megan Plevy
Every meal has a story – and each one starts with precision and passion. Imagine a bite-sized Asian tuna tartare and avocado mousse, perfectly placed atop a potato crisp while overlooking a digital night sky at Lightbox, an immersive, interactive arts space in Hell’s Kitchen. Or an indulgent classic roast chicken, served over vegetables in a cast-iron pan for an intimate dinner party in the Hamptons. These savory moments are at the core of chef Brian Collesano’s Plated Personal Chef Services, which curates refined, bespoke culinary experiences in the New York City metro area.
Collesano and his team, including help from chefs Dan Clarke and Greg Grossman of Culinaria Group, work with each client to craft a menu designed to their individual needs and tastes, providing services for everything from private dinners to corporate events. They fuse a classic framework with cutting-edge techniques, resulting in global, modernist cuisine for a wide variety of palates. Taking inspiration from culinary virtuosos like Mario Batali and Thomas Keller, Collesano is able to transform a signature dish, like Keller’s French Laundry egg custard, into a “democratized,” contemporary work of art, using tools like an egg topper to accurately slice and shape the creamy egg custard, infused with rich truffles and topped with prosciutto.
Whether it’s using dry ice to accurately cool food quickly or implementing a whipping siphon to produce a smooth foam, this science-driven technique not only makes cooking more efficient but elevates any course with new, refreshing elements. “It’s changed the way food behaves and, more importantly, the way we interact with it,” added Collesano. These enhanced flavors and textures, groundbreaking technology, and breathtaking compositions are what make Plated Chef’s food unforgettable. Prepping each course’s flavor balance and composition like a modern artist, Collesano possesses a method that is both calculated and innovative in his gourmet creations.
Growing up in an Italian family of successful chefs and restaurant owners, the New York native’s culinary talent runs in his blood. However, before becoming a chef, he started out in the hectic world of law and finance. Collesano enjoyed the high-energy of his job but soon realized he would rather spend late nights behind a stove than behind a computer screen. “I’ve always had this entrepreneurial bug,” said Collesano. “It was just finding how to make my true passion a reality.”
As a result of his entrepreneurial drive and ingenious precision,the company itself is the embodiment of Collesano’s unique culinary philosophy, which focuses on freshness, innovation and of course, captivating to the senses. Starting with the ingredients themselves, Collesano implements his expansive network of hyper-local, diverse vendors. “Starting with the highest quality is essential,” said Collesano. “It makes all the difference.” With irreplaceable flavors from the Deep South to the Philippines, his sources provide the ingredients and versatility his sophisticated food is known for.
Even a single slab of high-quality beef brings infinite opportunities. Whether it’s a tender, sizzling steak with a traditional béarnaise sauce or a flavorful riff on steak tartare, Collesano describes meat as “the ultimate blank canvas.” Plated Chefs source custom-cut meat from the Florence Meat Market, a tiny, authentic butcher shop in the East Village with sawdust-sprinkled floors and old Italian charm.
One of Collesano’s favorite dishes, a succulent sliced lamb loin, rolled in an herb, roasted garlic and panko crust, keeps its juicy texture and perfected temperature through sous-vide cooking. Sous vide, French for “under vacuum,” is a signature modernist cooking method that involves a thermal immersion circulator. By vacuum sealing a cut of meat and submerging it in a temperature-controlled water bath, Collesano is able to cook the meat precisely and evenly, as opposed to searing it erratically on grill much hotter than needed. It provides incredible tenderness and accuracy that is almost impossible for traditional cooking methods to achieve.
Though critics have argued modernist techniques, like the sous vide method, are just for show, Collesano disagrees. Collesano explained, “They’re not pointless; they actually contribute to making the food taste better and provide a better experience for my clients.” Through their passion for localized ingredients and vivid, modernist cuisine, Plated Personal Chefs Services brings custom culinary storytelling to the next level.
“Some say it’s not real cooking, but it is real cooking – it’s the future.”