Chef Lauren Resler, Alex Stupak's wife and pastry chef at Empellon Taqueria and Cocina, got into pastry to make people smile. She talks with us about how she does just that, what it's like working so closely with her husband, and plans she has in store.
'Empellon Cocina' on Serious Eats
You know a restaurant opening is an important one when, a few months later, you can't imagine New York without it. 2012, despite plenty of closures even before a catastrophic storm that crippled, closed, or delayed so many restaurants, was a fantastic year for eating in the city. Here are my favorites of the year: not just full-service restaurants, but the odd bakery, cocktail bar, and Mediterranean lunch joint thrown in for good measure.
Chef Alex Stupak may read as bracing, controversial or overly opinionated, but in person his humility and drive come across more than anything. The celebrated pastry chef made waves when he left wd-50 to open a Mexican restaurant—a cuisine he had no previous personal attachment to. But since opening Empellón Taqueria and the recent Empellón Cocina, Stupak has been collecting both upraised eyebrows and ample praise. But praise doesn't drive Stupak. Nor does fear of failure. What does? We had a chat to find out.
Former WD-50 pastry chef Alex Stupak took a big leap last year when he opened up Empellón, a high-end Mexican taqueria in the West Village. A year later, Stupak is back with Empellón Cocina, a taco-free, quieter, slightly higher-end sister restaurant in the East Village. I stopped by a few nights ago to check out the space and the drinks.