Author and Culinary Raconteur
The Turback Dossier
Michael Turback was trained as a restaurateur at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. He opened his first restaurant, Turback's of Ithaca, at age 22. The restaurant's mission was to combine inventiveness, passionate cooking with local ingredients, and the novel concept of a wine list with exclusively New York State products. The achievement was recognized by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, Gourmet Magazine, Wine Spectator, Nation's Restaurant News, the Food Channel, and NPR's "All Things Considered." Bon Appetit Magazine hailed Turback's as "the best restaurant in New York State." In 1986 Mr. Turback was selected as a "Rising Star" by Restaurant Hospitality Magazine. He pioneered concepts at Turback's that sparked trends that are seen throughout the restaurant industry today. Loyalty to small local farmers and use of seasonal local produce helped to popularize American regional dining. Wine tasting events and wine dinners inspired interest in a new generation of local wines. The Turback's staff even picked their own grapes for the restaurant's house wine. Turback's originated "The Great Nouveau Race," in which long-distance runners carried the first-released bottles of upstate wines to market, upstaging the delivery of French Nouveau. The restaurant's success dispelled the prevailing popular belief that fine restaurants could serve only European and California wines. Wine Enthusiast Magazine named Turback's "one of the wine-friendliest restaurants in America" and the restaurant was awarded "Best American Wine List" by Restaurant Business Magazine. Mr. Turback distinguished himself in retailing with the development of The Original Made-in-New York Stores. Featuring regional food, wines, and a variety of gifts produced or manufactured around the state, the concept attracted media attention and spawned a national mail order catalog. A feature article in New Yorker Magazine commented on the stores' policy of excluding items from outside New York as "an act of partisanship that some would call lunatic, others courageous." He is a founding partner in two influential electronic commerce ventures, The NEW YORK FIRST Company, the first department store concept on the Internet, and History Company, an online source for extraordinary pieces of American history. As an author, his intellectually rich reflections add surprising, entertaining dimensions to the culinary landscape. A Month of Sundaes takes readers on a 30-chapter journey through the history and folklore of the Ice Cream Sundae; a follow-up work, The Banana Split Book, trains a microscopic eye on the origins of the iconic dessert and its status in the social chronicle of an entire century; Greetings from the Finger Lakes: A Food and Wine Lover's Companion celebrates achievements in winemaking, artisan farming, and culinary invention; Hot Chocolate, features 60 trend-setting recipes contributed by the world's preeminent chocolatiers; Mocha explores the partnership of chocolate and coffee in a range of original drinks and desserts from chocolatiers, pastry chefs, and baristas. Mr. Turback is a consultant who has survived and thrived through some very interesting career turns. He has a proven success record at bringing fresh, original and creative solutions to the most competitive challenges in marketing, promotion, communications, internet retailing, business image refinement, and concept development.