MEET THE TEAM
Michelle Mannix, Founder.
Prior to her life in hospitality, Michelle held positions in Corporate Marketing, Human Resources and Business Development. After a lay off she switched gears to pursue her true passion - cooking and being around food.
Shortly after, Michelle attended the New School’s Culinary Arts Master Class where upon completion she was selected to assist the Chef instructor for another semester. This was followed by some time as line and prep cook in Danny Meyer’s Café 2 in the Museum of Modern Art prior to opening Ted & Honey and Parker Red with her brother. She ran Ted & Honey and Parker Red from 2008 -2016 just prior to the launch of Cook Space!
Lara Southern, Creative Director
Raised in London until she turned 18, Lara’s first “proper” job was at her local gastropub, where she bussed tables, poured pints and spent her breaks scribbling stories on the back of cocktail napkins.
Upon graduating from Brown with a degree in English Literature, she dove head first into life in NYC. After three years at an education start-up, she changed course to pursue her passion for food, landing at Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory, (where she took full advantage of the employee discount). Most recently, Lara has spent the past two + years at Sunday Suppers as Event + Studio Director, surrounded by beautiful food and the people who created it.
Throughout, Lara has continued to pursue her love of writing, producing freelance pieces for Bustle, Roads & Kingdoms and Ambrosia Magazine, among others.
Her somewhat itinerant professional experiences have brought her here to Cook Space, an environment that marries so many of her passions but, most importantly, her love of building community.
Nini Nguyen, Culinary Director
After graduating from LSU business school, Chef Nini had an inkling that she might want to be a chef. So she traded in her calculator for a spatula, and got a job at Sucre, a New Orleans chocolate shop. It was love at first sight. From there she worked in various New Orleans kitchens including Coquette on Magazine, before deciding to pursue her dreams in New York City. She landed her first job at Eleven Madison Park. Then she worked for Dinner Lab, expanding the company across the US. She also worked with Michelle on Parker Red and Ted and Honey. She then took some time off to travel, explore making pottery and spending time with family.
Now she is back and at Cook Space.
When she's not cooking, she's working on her ceramic company, The Baker's Clay. And when she's not doing that, she's probably at the Beach. Mostly though, she enjoys sharing her love of and passion for cooking!
Jake Brodsky, Sous Chef
Jake's introduction to the food world is rooted in his ever changing and varied upbringing, splitting his time between his home in New York with his South Carolinian mother and Miami, FL with Bronx-born father. As a professional boxer and trainer, his father viewed food from a nutritional perspective, with a heavy emphasis on chicken breasts and raw veggies, something Jake grew tired of around age 9. Taking matters into his own hands, Jake learned how to cook for myself, spending hours feeding an insatiable curiosity in food, and educating himself in his passion as much as possible.
After landing his first job as a busboy in an Italian American restaurant at 13, he knew that food was the path he would pursue. His time in the hallowed kitchens of Eleven Madison park Union Sq. Events (along with some time as a personal trainer in between), have helped Jake develop his own style of cooking, centering around simple and clean food, executed with the utmost precision and attention to detail. As well as in the Cook Space kitchen, Jake's expertise on the plate can be found through his own private dining and events company, Whip New York. His background in fine dining combined with his passion for health and fitness is reflected in his cooking - food that looks beautiful, tastes exquisite and makes you feel phenomenal too.