Michael Chernow and Daniel Holzman met as teenagers, working as delivery boys in their native New York City. Holzman soon went from bike runs to the culinary big leagues, working after school at Le Bernardin and attending the Culinary Institute of America. Before he graduated, Holzman signed on to worked under Jean-Louis Palladin in New York City and Las Vegas, and then began a 10-year journey through California restaurants, including Campton Place, The Fifth Floor, Aqua, and Jardinière. In 2004, Holzman took a chef-management role at California bistro, Axe, followed by an executive chef position at the Inn of the Seventh Ray. Holzman opened his first restaurant, SPQR, in 2007, selling his interest a year later to found ice cream novelty company KB Treats LLC.
Meanwhile, Chernow launched his career in 1996 slinging drinks at New York City nightclub Life, where he rose through the ranks to staff bartender, alternating seasons between Life and The Tavern in the Hamptons. He next opened Woo Lae Oak in the city and took a position at the Los Angeles original in 2001. Returning to New York, Chernow opened Punch & Judy and then took a seven-year post behind the bar of Frank, where he gained a large, loyal following. To jumpstart his ambitions, Chernow pursued degrees in culinary arts and restaurant management from the French Culinary Institute. Armed with a degree, he contacted his old crony, Daniel Holzman.
Together, the duo formulated a fast-casual meatball concept and opened the first Meatball Shop on the Lower East Side in 2010. Today, Chernow and Holzman run four Meatball Shop locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and on top of building a booming meatball empire, they’re building community, sourcing locally, sharing their kitchens with upstart businesses, donating their time and resources to charities, and serving victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Why: No kid should go hungry. A good breakfast is the first step in a good education.
About: Share Our Strength and its No Kid Hungry and Cooking Matters campaigns are ending childhood hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.
Interview with Daniel Holzman of The Meatball Shop