C.O.O.K. Series Continues With Great Food, Advice From Top Shake Shack Leadership

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

What better way to savor the “dog days” of summer than with traditional food and drink everyone associates with this very special time of the year?

Gateway Community College Foundation’s popular “Chefs Of Our Kitchen” (C.O.O.K.) series continues on Tuesday, July 22, with a 6 p.m. reception in Gateway’s New Alliance Foundation Art Gallery, followed by a 7 p.m. presentation and dinner in Café Vincenzo offered by two of Shake Shack’s key leaders: Mark Rosati, culinary director, and Amy Green, New England area director. Wells Fargo, a generous supporter of the Foundation and many of its special events, is serving as lead sponsor.

Shake Shack is a critically acclaimed modern-day “roadside” burger stand, renowned for its 100 percent all-natural Angus beef burgers, delicious flat-top dogs, fresh-made frozen custard, craft beer and wine and much, much more! With its simple, high-quality food, offered at great value, "The Shack” is a fun, lively community gathering spot. From its fresh ingredients and exceptional hiring practices to its evolved sense of environmental responsibility, design and community investment, Shake Shack continually lives its mission: “Stand for Something Good.”

About the Event
The July 22 C.O.O.K. presentation will offer attendees a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on what it takes to establish and grow a hugely successful domestic and international brand in the highly competitive food franchise field – where failure is often the norm, not the exception.

The reception will be followed by a dinner featuring signature dishes from the restaurant’s menu, explored and explained by Culinary Director Mark Rosati. Those dishes will be paired with Shackmeister Ale, made for the Shack by Brooklyn Brewery; a red and a white wine, also crafted exclusively for Shake Shack by Frog’s Leap; and soft drinks.

New England Area Director Amy Green will share fascinating insights into the company’s history, values, branding and philosophy of guest service, as well as how it has adapted its menu and marketing strategies to diverse international cultures. Each attendee will receive a signed copy of Danny Meyer’s first book, “Setting the Table,” a New York Times bestseller that examines the lessons he learned and the power of what he calls “enlightened hospitality” in restaurants, business and life.

There will be great door prizes, including T-shirts and “swag bags,” along with a raffle for dinner for 10 at the New Haven Shake Shack. Tickets, which cost $60 per person, can be purchased online at www.shop.gatewayfdn.org/Event-Tickets_c2.htm; by e-mailing sswirsky@gatewayct.edu; or by calling Susan Swirsky at (203) 285-2617.

Proceeds from each C.O.O.K. event helps support Gateway students, faculty and staff.

About Shake Shack
Shake Shack is part of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, which includes many of New York City’s most celebrated restaurants: Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, and The Modern, among others. Since the original Shake Shack opened in 2004, in NYC’s Madison Square Park, the fine casual “anti-chain” has grown to encompass domestic locations in New York; New Jersey; Washington D.C.; Pennsylvania; Florida; Massachusetts; and right here in New Haven; along with international locations including London, Istanbul, Dubai and Moscow.

Born and raised in Connecticut, Shack Shack Culinary Director Mark Rosati (pictured above) grew up enjoying the state’s legendary roadside seafood and burger “shacks.” In 1995, his strong interest in food, yearning to create and restless spirit brought him to New York, where he pursued a degree in Film and Television from New York University. During his explorations of the city’s diverse neighborhoods, where he sampled a wide variety of cuisines, he met Chef Tom Colicchio at Gramercy Tavern – and set his culinary career in motion by accepting an entry-level position at the Tavern.

In 2007, Mark joined Shake Shack as manager of the company’s original Madison Square Park location. He helped open the Upper West Side Shack in 2008, but he was always tinkering in the kitchen with new recipes, many of which became signature menu items and specials. In 2010, he was named Shake Shack’s Culinary Development manager, and his sophisticated approach to refined, delicious comfort food has tremendously impacted the Shack’s domestic and international menus. He became Culinary Director in 2014, and continues to redefine fine casual restaurant dining. His special edition “MeisterShack” was named “Best Burger” at the 2014 South Beach Wine and Food Festival Burger Bash.

Amy Green (pictured above) fell in love with restaurants at age 12 and spent her summers working as a busboy at a family friend’s eatery. Never dreaming she could have a successful, fulfilling culinary career, Amy studied psychology and criminal justice in college. While working in her field as a case manager, she found herself always drawn back to food service, often working in restaurants nights and weekends.

Ten years ago, Amy finally decided to turn her avocation into a full-time career, learning as much as she could in the process. She spent the next decade working behind bars and in back offices, observing in kitchens, and managing a small pastry shop. In 2010, Amy joined Shake Shack as manager. For almost four years, she ran Shake Shack’s busiest restaurant in Manhattan, most recently as general manager, while developing and implementing systems currently used in all of Shake Shack’s 48 locations. Last year, she was named New England Area Director, and is excited to bring the company’s brand and culture to communities throughout the region.