Chef Ariane Duarte
Chef Ariane Duarte’s love for cooking began as she was growing up, watching her grandmother cook the family dinners. She applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Upon her graduation, she was hired as a sous chef at the Highlawn Pavilion in West Orange.
Two years later she accepted a line cook position at The Terrace in NYC. After three years, she accepted a position as the lead grill cook at Dallas’ prestigious Star Canyon. Here she met her husband, Michael, with whom she moved to Chicago to cook in his family’s restaurant.
While in Chicago she broadened her culinary knowledge by taking a position at Trio, and as an assistant for one of Charlie Trotter’s cookbooks. She moved back to NJ and accepted the position as opening chef de cuisine for Vine. Within eight months she was given the title of Executive Chef. During the same time, Ariane was also running her own catering company, CulinAriane, in New Jersey. When Vine closed its doors, Ariane and Michael opened CulinAriane.
Presented with the opportunity to be on Top Chef Season 5, Ariane jumped at the chance. In 2013 she competed and won the premiere season of “Cook Your Ass Off.” With appearances on the Today Show, Iron Chef and the Tyra Banks Show she has not stopped. She has also been a contributing chef for several magazines. In December 2015, Ariane competed on a special holiday episode of Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay,” defeating Moroccan French chef Adil Fawzi for the chance to go up against Flay and eventually conquering chef Flay to win. Ariane opened her restaurant Ariane Kitchen & Bar in Verona, New Jersey in the fall of 2014.
Michael's career in the food service industry began over 25 years ago as a server in his mother’s restaurant, Cafe Las Bellas Artes (CLBA), in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst. After graduating from Augustana College he returned to CLBA. Two month later, he applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. Upon his graduation he returned to CLBA and within two years worked his way up to Executive Chef. He received three stars from the Chicago Tribune and three and one half stars from the Chicago Sun-Times, and was named one of the Best New Chefs by the Chicago Tribune. In 1994 he took a six month sabbatical to open Stephen Pyles' Star Canyon in Dallas. It was here that he met his wife Ariane. After six months they moved back to Chicago and Michael resumed his role as Executive Chef. In 1997 they moved to New Jersey and in 1999 he accepted a sales position with D'Artagnan. After two years with D’Artagnan, he accepted the Sales Manager position for Urbani Truffle Company USA.
During his time in sales, he and Ariane started their catering company, CulinAriane, from their home. Realizing they needed more space they found a location in Montclair, NJ which not only had a working kitchen but also had a small dining room, where upon they decided to open a 30 seat restaurant and continue the catering; Ariane would be the Executive Chef and Michael would manage the dining room and business aspects. CulinAriane was opened in February 2006. In April 2006 CulinAriane received a four star rating for food, service and ambiance from the NJ Star-Ledger, and in October 2006 it received a "very good" rating from the NY Times. In January 2010, they expanded CulinAriane. It was one of New Jersey’s top 25 restaurants for the past six years, as well as one of the highest Zagat’s rated restaurants in the state. He now handles the day to day operations of Ariane kitchen & bar
John Mac Evoy, Partner
John’s career in hospitality started in college as a bartender at the famous London Victory Club in Tampa, Florida. In his 25 year career he has been the owner and partner in many bars and restaurants including; The Blue Whale, The Shark Bar, The Daily Grind, Murphy’s, Cleveland’s, Pub 35, Saint Stephen’s Green and the Verona Inn.
John is thrilled to have partnered with Michael and Ariane and to be a part of bringing their culinary gifts to his hometown of Verona.
Eat well, live well.