February 5, 2017

A Bistro With Big Ambition

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Michael Brennan’s first job out of high school was at Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia. He says he walked into the restaurant at age 18, in an ill-fitting shirt, to find Chef Georges Perrier standing in the door. Perrier hired him on the spot to work front-of-house, probably because restaurant week was coming up and they were about to get slammed.

Now 24, Michael’s got his own restaurant, Cardinal Bistro, in Ventnor, but he still seems to have a sense of timing.In the middle of what was supposed to be a “soft opening” this summer, the restaurant critic Craig LaBan wrote a review calling him “one of the young chefs to watch this year at the Shore.” Suddenly, the kitchen was full-throttle. This fall, he tried out to be a contestant on the Food Network (Cooks vs. Cons) and won $10,000.

He sat down with Michael Fagan, of Waiter Nation, to talk about dodging crockery, what it’s like to work a “stage” in New York and his experience opening a new restaurant.

The video is by Sherry McCracken of Little Rock Films and Studios.

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