EMM Group Star Chef Hung Huynh Quits Because He ‘Wasn’t Taken Seriously’
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Hung Huynh, Photo: Serious Eats
Chef Hung Huynh was a sharp arrow in the quiver of EMM Group. It was he who helped grow Catch, and was tasked with helming the kitchen at the doomed 199 Bowery club complex of The General/Finale. Now he’s no longer on the payroll.
Zagat is reporting that Vietnamese-born quit EMM Group because the controversial co-owners Mark Birnbaum and Eugene Remm reportedly never took him seriously. His contract was set to expire last month, and he gave up on renegotiating an extension deal.
They wanted to go a different direction. Their restaurants are so big, and it was hard to get taken seriously by somewhere like the New York Times. They have a different mentality and a different way of looking at business.”
I had to cook food to please two guys based on their palates [EMM’s founders]. There was only so much I could do since I couldn’t do anything too weird or authentic. I believe I helped created a part of their global brand and at the end of the day, I didn’t get much out of it. I want to move on and have a little more balls now.
And on the subject of The General and its epic failure, Huynh told Zagat:
I have no idea [why it closed]. I’m the last one to know these kinds of things. We were packed on the weekends but quite slow early in the week. It was almost one block too far south for the weekday crowd. The food at The General was good, but it wasn’t 100% of what I wanted to serve.