Executive Chef Darren Pettigrew of ALFIE’S BAR & KITCHEN in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC

Chef Spotlight: Executive Chef Darren Pettigrew of ALFIE'S BAR & KITCHEN in Hell's Kitchen, NYC

Dublin-born chef Darren Pettigrew was trained in London at the Da Vere Grand Connaught Rooms and grew up working in the kitchens of New York. Throughout his career he has donned the stove at countless established restaurants in New York honing his skills in the kitchen and continually pushing the envelope with more creative takes on everyday dishes. He previously owned seafood restaurant Stella Maris at the South Street Seaport for five years. He also spent a number of years working with famed restaurateurs Peter and Harry Poulakakos at their Financial District properties. Now he serves as the Executive Chef for the SRP NYC restaurant group, developing innovative menus for their various concepts.

Alfie’s Bar & Kitchen, the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood favorite that just celebrated its eight-year anniversary, spotlights a brand-new and refreshed New American Gastro Pub menu from new Executive Chef Darren Pettigrew. The restaurant is owned by seasoned restaurateur, Sean Hayden, whose career spans 25 years and serves as a partner of the SRP NYC restaurant group that operates Valerie, Dalton’s, and Jasper’s Tap House & Kitchen. Hayden saw a need to create a true restaurant experience for the community and was the first to bring a more sophisticated American kitchen to the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. Now Chef Pettigrew will be providing Alfie’s beloved customers with an inspired dining experience complete with elevated New American dishes, spotlighting locally sourced organic ingredients.

Broadwayworld.com had the pleasure on interviewing Chef Pettigrew about his career and Alfie’s Bar & Kitchen for our “Chef Spotlight.”

What was your earliest interest in cooking?

My earliest interest in cooking was making apple pies as a kid with my mother. Playing with dough made with lard and helping to peel Irish crab apples. The native crab apple grows wildly amongst the wild hedge rows and woodlands of Ireland. Probably the most bitter fruit I’ve ever tasted but makes for a great pie!

Who were some of your career mentors?

I’ve been very fortunate to have had many real mentors and talented people to help guide me throughout my career. Starting with Chef Cormac Healy at the National Yacht Club of Ireland. Chef Eric Lind; Chef Ebhenhart Mullers my left hand man, formerly of Lutece. Most recently, Master Chef Rich Rosendale.

What culinary styles have influenced your career?

I’m classically trained, so certainly French, Italian and Spanish, but a recent trip to Japan has turned the way I think about food on its head. Japanese food is very simplistic and pure in essence, but extraordinarily difficult to execute. I trained with a great group of Japanese chefs in rural Japan at the dream lab. Their dedication, technique and precision was something to be admired.

What do you consider the most distinguishing feature of your work as a chef?

Reforming totally new teams, learning to be more resilient and understanding how to constantly adapt to a forever changing landscape. In addition to learn how to handle all the other curve balls being thrown at us week in

Read more

Kitchen United Appoints Michael Montagano Chief Executive Officer, Promotes Joy Lai to Chief Operating Officer

Kitchen United a ghost kitchen industry leader, announced today the appointment of Michael Montagano as Chief Executive Officer and newest member of the Company’s Board of Directors following two years serving as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. Additionally, Joy Lai has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer from her previous position as Chief Marketing Officer.

“Over the past three years, we have built a solid foundation on which to grow. I am proud of what we accomplished in my years at Kitchen United, and can say without a doubt the Kitchen United team is the best that I’ve had the privilege to serve alongside. I know they will continue to achieve great success in the years ahead,” said former CEO Jim Collins who departed the company to focus on personal endeavors.

“Michael is well positioned to continue to build upon Kitchen United’s industry leadership and help restaurant partners achieve optimal success,” said David Krane, CEO and Managing Partner at GV. “He has been instrumental in growing the business and charting the course for the future, making him the ideal leader to advance the company into its next chapter of growth. Together with Joy, who has a deep understanding of consumer adoption and scaling businesses, we are confident the Kitchen United leadership team will achieve long-term success.”

Mr. Montagano joined Kitchen United as CFO in 2018, as an experienced executive with a proven track record of building and scaling venture-backed companies. He led capital formation initiatives for the company securing institutional financing partners including GV, Fidelity Investments, and G Squared, as well as strategic partners, RXR Realty, DivcoWest and Rich’s Food Products. Prior to Kitchen United, Mr. Montagano helped shepherd PowerFlex Systems from seed-stage to acquisition by a Fortune Global 100, Electricite de France (ENXTPA:EDF). He currently sits on the Board of Directors for Dog Haus World-Wide, one of the country’s fastest-growing national restaurant chains.

Mr. Montagano grew up in a restaurant family anchored by an Italian restaurant and neighborhood butchery founded by his grandparents. He received his MBA from University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and his JD from Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law.

“I look forward to working closely with our exceptional senior leadership team and our entire board of directors,” Mr. Montagano said. “We believe strongly in the Company’s growth potential as we sharpen our focus on serving our clients and creating value for our stakeholders.”

In her new role as Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Lai oversees sales, marketing and operations at Kitchen United. She joined Kitchen United in 2019 bringing nearly two decades of experience driving growth for Enterprises and SMBs, including launching/scaling products, partnerships, and optimizing omni-channel strategies. She previously held strategic leadership roles at Internet Brands, The Wonderful Company and Bain & Company. Ms. Lai received a BS from the University of California, Berkeley, and a MS from Stanford University.

“Our team has built a burgeoning business by marrying deep experience in the industry with a passion for growing off-premise business

Read more

Learn How Interior Designer Kristin Corley Revamped Her Career With an Executive MBA.

Kristin Corley, Auburn Executive MBA, Class of 2008. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

For working professionals wanting to boost their careers, an executive MBA allows you to learn valuable business skills without interrupting your career or personal life. Just ask Kristin Corley, a local professional who transformed her interior design career with the skills and knowledge earned through the Auburn Executive MBA program.

What is an Executive MBA?

Photo via Auburn Harbert School of Business on Facebook

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is designed to help graduates better understand the ways a business functions. An MBA is an incredibly versatile degree that gives you the knowledge and confidence to make information based, budget-related decisions regardless of job title or business model. 

But for many working professionals, an MBA—with its two-year, full-time class schedule—simply isn’t feasible. That’s where an Executive MBA shines.

Tailored to professionals with eight or more years of progressive experience, the Auburn Executive MBA program utilizes the significant knowledge and experience of students to ground business principles and theory with examples of real-world application. The program blends intensive residencies with distance courses for the best of both worlds—classroom instruction that provides interaction with faculty and peers and online learning that offers the flexibility to balance career, family and rigorous education. This delivery model binds students into a tight-knit cohort that later becomes a professional network offering benefits long after graduation. 

Kristin Corley, 2008 Auburn EMBA graduate

Kristin outside her office at BL Harbert International. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

To learn more about Auburn’s EMBA program, we spoke with alumnus Kristin Corley, Class of 2008. Prior to pursuing an EMBA, Kristin graduated from Auburn with a degree in interior design. After working several years in a local firm, Kristin realized that expanding her understanding of business strategy and finance would be helpful in her career. So she began looking for a program that could help fill that gap in her skill set.

For Kristin, the Auburn EMBA program checked all the boxes. At the time, she was balancing her work schedule and taking care of her four-year-old, so a traditional program was out of the question.

How did the Auburn EMBA fit in with your work schedule?

Kristin: “Auburn’s EMBA program is perfectly tailored for people in my situation—working professionals that don’t have the time capacity for standard classes. That flexibility allowed me to work on class projects on Saturday mornings, rather than trying to find time to be in a classroom each day. And since the program is online, it didn’t require students to be in the area. In fact, I believe only three people in my class actually lived in Alabama.”

Kristin Corley in her office at BL Harbert International. Photo via Nathan Watson for Bham Now

For Kristin, one of her most valuable takeaways was the improvement of her communication skills. The Auburn EMBA taught Kristin how to

Read more

Overnight Health Care: House Democrats slam pharma CEOs for price hikes driven by revenue, executive bonuses | Ex-FDA employees express worries to Congress over politicization of vaccines

Welcome to Wednesday night’s Overnight Health Care, where we’re waiting to see if there’s going to be a deal on a new COVID-19 relief package.



a man wearing a suit and tie: Overnight Health Care: House Democrats slam pharma CEOs for price hikes driven by revenue, executive bonuses | Ex-FDA employees express worries to Congress over politicization of vaccines | Fauci said his mask stance was 'taken out of context' by Trump


© Washington Examiner/Pool
Overnight Health Care: House Democrats slam pharma CEOs for price hikes driven by revenue, executive bonuses | Ex-FDA employees express worries to Congress over politicization of vaccines | Fauci said his mask stance was ‘taken out of context’ by Trump

Top House Democrat: Parties ‘much closer’ to a COVID deal ‘than we’ve ever been’

Loading...

Load Error

The head of the House Democratic Caucus said Wednesday that the negotiators seeking an emergency coronavirus deal are “much closer” to a deal than they have been at any point during the long weeks of on-again-off-again talks.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) pointed to comments by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin indicating a willingness to embrace $1.5 trillion in new stimulus spending – a number on par with the bipartisan relief package offered last week by the Problem Solvers Caucus – noting that that figure is far closer to the Democrats’ $2.2 trillion package than Republicans have previously backed.

After almost two months of stalled talks, Mnuchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have resumed the negotiations this week by phone. In some sign that progress is being made, Mnuchin met with Pelosi in the Speaker’s office on Wednesday afternoon.

Read more here.

House Democrats slam pharma CEOs for price hikes driven by revenue, executive bonuses

An explosive staff report from the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee found that the CEOs of Teva and Celgene raised drug prices exponentially for no reason other than to boost profits and inflate executives’ bonuses.

Oversight Democrats at a hearing on Wednesday pressed those CEOs, and put them on the defensive.

Highlights: Internal documents obtained by the committee found Celgene raised the price of the cancer drug Revlimid 22 times.

The drug, approved to treat the blood cancer multiple myeloma, more than tripled in price since its launch in 2005, driven almost exclusively by the need to meet company revenue targets and shareholder earnings goals.

In 2005, a monthly supply of Revlimid was priced at $4,515. Today, the same monthly supply is priced at $16,023, a cost of $719 per pill.

Easy target: The report found that executives at Celgene and Teva specifically targeted the U.S. market for massive increases because Medicare is not allowed to negotiate drug prices.

Context: The Democratic-led report comes just weeks before Election Day, and follows a flurry of mostly empty last-ditch efforts by President Trump aimed at showing he is taking action on drug pricing. Trump has made lowering drug prices a key part of his messaging for years, dating back to the 2016 campaign, but has little to show for all his bluster.

Read more here.

Atlas, health officials feuds add to Trump coronavirus turmoil

The feuds between White House coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas and top public health officials are raising more questions about President Trump‘s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Atlas, a

Read more

Illinois House committee investigating Speaker Michael Madigan set to hear testimony from Exelon executive

An executive from Commonwealth Edison parent company Exelon is set to testify Tuesday before a special Illinois House committee investigating Speaker Michael Madigan in connection with a bribery case involving the utility.



a man sitting at a desk looking at a laptop: David Glockner, Exelon s executive vice president for compliance and audit, answers questions at a meeting with the Illinois Commerce Commission in Chicago on July 29, 2020. nn


© Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
David Glockner, Exelon s executive vice president for compliance and audit, answers questions at a meeting with the Illinois Commerce Commission in Chicago on July 29, 2020. nn

The six-member special investigating committee, formed this summer after federal prosecutors alleged ComEd engaged in a “yearslong bribery scheme” aimed at currying favor with Madigan, has become a partisan flash point ahead of the November election.

The panel was formed at the request of House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs to determine whether Madigan engaged in “conduct unbecoming to a legislator” and should face potential discipline. The speaker and the panel’s Democratic chairman, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside, have accused the GOP of political posturing. Republicans accuse Democrats of acting in defense of Madigan, who has not been charged and has denied wrongdoing.

Madigan was one of several witnesses the committee’s three Republicans asked to testify, but all declined the invitation, with the exception of ComEd. Set to testify on the utility’s behalf on Tuesday is David Glockner, Exelon’s executive vice president for compliance and audit.

The six-member panel could subpoena witnesses, but that would require one of three Democrats to vote with the three Republicans to compel testimony. One Democrat also would have to side with Republicans for the special committee to approve a charge against Madigan.

As part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. attorney’s office announced earlier this summer, ComEd agreed to pay a $200 million fine and cooperate with investigators after federal prosecutors alleged in July that the utility offered jobs, contracts and payments to Madigan allies in the hopes of winning support for favorable legislation.

The agreement with federal prosecutors focuses specifically on two major pieces of energy legislation approved in the legislature in the past decade: the 2011 Energy Infrastructure and Modernization Act and the 2016 Future Energy Jobs Act, both of which resulted in major benefits for the state’s largest utility.

In a letter Friday declining the invitation to testify, Madigan argued that “House Democrats won significant concessions, much to the chagrin of ComEd and Exelon, likely costing the companies millions of dollars in profits.”

Seeking to turn the tables on Durkin, Madigan noted the key role the House GOP leader and then-Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner played in negotiating the 2016 legislation, which opponents characterized as a bailout for two Exelon nuclear power plants.

“If Rep. Durkin were to put aside his current political agenda and speak honestly about his experiences with this energy legislation in which he was personally involved, I am certain he would attest that the process of negotiating that bill was bipartisan and his input was likely more valuable than mine,” Madigan wrote.

Following Madigan’s cue, Welch said in a statement Monday that he

Read more

White House eyes executive action to keep unemployment benefits flowing

The White House is considering executive action to provide more money for unemployment benefits, following the exhaustion of funds made available by President Trump’s previous administrative maneuvering.

“We’re looking at all possible avenues to continue giving relief to Americans from an executive standpoint, in lieu of Democrats agreeing to a legislative deal,” said Ben Williamson, a senior adviser for Mark Meadows, Trump’s chief of staff.

Trump, through a memorandum in August, made available up to $44 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund to provide assistance to workers sidelined by the pandemic in the form of a $300-a-week federal boost to unemployment benefits, to be matched by $100 from state governments. The additional jobless aid is known as Lost Wages Assistance.

Over $30 billion of those dollars have already been distributed. With money running low, the agency has said that total funding will be limited to six weeks, in total, for every state that has applied so far, a spokesman told the Washington Examiner. The administration has had to start cutting off certain states, including Texas, Iowa, Montana, Tennessee, and New Hampshire.

The impetus behind Trump’s executive order on the enhanced payment was Congress’s inability to extend added unemployment benefits, which had been enacted in the March CARES Act at a rate of $600 a week. The program has been expired for over a month. Lawmakers in both parties support extending the enhanced benefit, but they have so far failed to agree on a dollar amount for the payment.

The White House is considering using an executive order to authorize FEMA to provide more assistance to states by making additional funds available to them through the $300-a-week federal boost to unemployment benefits, a former senior administration official said. This would allow more FEMA funds to be used after the current $44 billion is exhausted.

There is a fear, however, of overusing FEMA’s funds and leaving the agency vulnerable as it deals with hurricane season as well as the wildfires on the West Coast.

“I take what the administration is doing as a good-faith effort to give assistance to people who haven’t had work for many weeks,” said Matt Weidinger, a fellow who focuses on unemployment and poverty at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.

“I’m sure every unemployed person would like to keep getting an additional $300 every week,” Weidinger said.

He said, however, that any potential executive actions to provide more unemployment aid could affect the incentives to return to work and would add to the debt in a harmful manner.

Until the $44 billion in additional unemployment aid is exhausted, FEMA will continue working with states to provide jobless help.

“On August 8, President Trump took decisive and unprecedented action to help unemployed Americans due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” FEMA press secretary Lizzie Litzow told the Washington Examiner. “FEMA continues to work with states and territories to fulfill their requests for six weeks of Lost Wages Assistance.”

Read more

Senate Republicans Cast Doubt on COVID Relief Bill’s Prospects, Prompting White House to Consider More Executive Orders

Senate Republicans cast doubt on Wednesday over the prospect of passing a bipartisan coronavirus relief package ahead of the November election, suggesting they would instead aim to pass legislation to avoid a federal shutdown.



a group of people standing next to a man in a suit and tie: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters after the Senate Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 9 2020.


© Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters after the Senate Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., September 9 2020.

While Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R., K.Y.) said he was “optimistic” that the GOP’s $500 billion skinny COVID-19 package would garner solid support from Republicans in a test vote on Thursday, Democrats have called the bill insufficient, furthering months of political gridlock over the stimulus in the Senate.

“Unless something really broke through, it’s not going to happen,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, according to the Associated Press, on the prospect of restarting negotiations that fell apart last month and reaching a deal before November. He added that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are itching to head home to campaign rather than stay in Washington.

The pessimism surrounding the bill’s prospects has reportedly prompted the White House to consider implementing additional executive orders that would direct funding to the airline industry and extend increased unemployment benefits, the Washington Post reported Thursday.

McConnell accused the Democrats of forcing unreasonable demands and behaving as though it will be politically advantageous to keep Republicans and President Trump from a victory on the virus so close to election day.

“They do not want any bipartisan relief,” he said.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) criticized the GOP bill that cuts out many of the provisions included in the $3.5 trillion relief bill that passed in the House in May, saying the GOP legislation “does nothing.”

“There are millions of kids who are food insecure, millions, maybe 14 million in our country, food insecure. He has nothing for that,” Pelosi said during an appearance on MSNBC on Monday. “There are millions of families, victims of evictions because they can’t pay the rent. They don’t care about that.”

The Republicans’ package would provide $105 billion to help schools reopen; instate a reduced weekly unemployment benefit supplement of $300; set aside $31 billion for a coronavirus vaccine, $16 billion for virus testing and $15 billion to help child care providers reopen; provide $20 billion for farmers; and devote $258 billion for a second round of paycheck protection subsidies.

Absent from the GOP bill is a second round of $1,200 stimulus payments to Americans. 

McConnell and other Republicans have expressed support for a short-term spending measure — a continuing resolution (CR) — in light of the stalemate to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the month, setting up a session for after the election to handle unfinished legislation, which could include coronavirus relief.

“My guess would be that if we leave in September with a CR, we will not come back to do anything before the election,” Senator Roy Blunt, (R-Mo.) told the AP.

Senate minority

Read more

White House looks at more executive actions as coronavirus-relief talks appear finished

White House officials have discussed trying to unilaterally provide support for the flagging airline industry while also bolstering unemployment benefits, according to two people aware of the deliberations who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share internal policy discussions. The White House has also discussed moving without Congress to direct more money for school vouchers and changing President Trump’s recent payroll tax changes to make it more effective.

In August, Trump signed four executive actions meant to provide more unemployment aid, eviction protections, student loan relief and to defer payroll tax payments. The moves have had mixed success and were meant to address political talks that had faltered on Capitol Hill.

The bipartisan urgency that propelled Congress to act with near-unanimity in March and April to approve an unprecedented $3 trillion in relief has evaporated. In its place is bitter partisan bickering, with each side accusing the other of playing politics and acting in bad faith.

“Democrats just point fingers, call names and keep blocking American families from getting any more help before the November election,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday on the Senate floor.

The Senate GOP economic relief bill would provide more money for small businesses, $300 weekly unemployment benefits and include a number of other priorities such as lawsuit protections for businesses. It would not include more money for things such as stimulus checks or state aid. The bill needs 60 votes to advance in Senate, and it is expected to fall short in a procedural vote set for Thursday.

McConnell has been under pressure from a handful of vulnerable GOP incumbents who wanted to vote on a coronavirus-relief measure before going back to their states for the final campaign push. The new bill, even if it doesn’t become law, could aid in those efforts, some Republicans believe.

“I think the opportunity to signal their support for a targeted, responsible and responsive package this week is going to be essential,” said Sen. Todd C. Young (R-Ind.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) questioned McConnell’s motives in putting forward a bill that can’t pass. “Is it because they really don’t want a bill, but a political issue — one that will ultimately backfire on them, I believe?” Schumer said.

Democratic leaders and top White House officials met in July and parts of August to try to reach an agreement on a new economic-relief package, concerned about the impact of expiring unemployment benefits, small business aid and eviction protections. But those negotiations faltered as both sides dug in, and Democrats and Republicans have only drifted further apart since then.

Asked whether a deal was possible on Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he was not sure.

“I don’t know, we’ll see,” he told reporters. “I hope there is. It’s important to a lot of people out there.”

The only negotiations happening are on a stand-alone spending bill known as a continuing resolution, or CR, to keep the

Read more