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Flatiron Faces: Steven Mangleshot, Executive Chef, wagamama

The Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership is pleased to introduce Steven Mangleshot, Executive Chef of wagamama. Located at 210 Fifth Avenue, between 25th and 26th Streets, the Japanese-inspired restaurant made its New York City debut in the Flatiron District last November. "There's truly something for everyone,” notes Mangleshot.

1. Briefly describe your role as Executive Chef at wagamama, which made its New York City debut in the Flatiron District last November.

As Executive Chef, I oversee menus for wagamama restaurants all around the world, including our newest location in NYC. It's an amazing job, which allows me to create some fantastic food.

2. wagamama was established in the United Kingdom 25 years ago and has been a leading British brand. What makes your style of Japanese-inspired cuisine such a hit among foodies?

Our menu is inspired by the flavors of Japan, and it's intended to soothe, nourish, sustain, and inspire. We offer curry, donburi, teppanyaki, and ramen along with salads, sides, and fresh pressed juices. There's truly something for everyone. Being able to use so many great ingredients and flavors from Asia makes it a joy to create such satisfying food.

3. How have Flatiron District diners embraced wagamama?

We talk to as many guests as we can to explain what we are doing and hopefully convey how passionate we are about our food and the stunning restaurant we serve it in, and that will never stop! And I believe that New York has taken to us and they appreciate what we are doing.

4. Which wagamama dishes do you highly recommend?

Wow, that’s a tough one! That is like trying to pick a favorite child...impossible. I love the new dishes we've dreamed up like the duck donburi or steak bulgogi, but I never can resist a classic like our yaki soba, which is still hitting the mark 25 years later.

5. You’ve been in the culinary arts business for a long time. What do you consider the most important skill set that has contributed to your success?

Well, I have actually been cooking for three decades! I know what you’re thinking, how can that be as you look so young? All jokes aside, what has really carried me through such a fantastic journey of cooking is the fact that I'm always learning. Even now I have some of my young new chefs giving me ideas, which is great. And above all, it's about being humble with all the people you meet.

6. What led you to pursue this profession? How does it remain appealing to you?

I've always loved to cook at home with my grandparents and parents, and watching them create food from nothing. Feeding someone is one of the greatest gifts of all. With wagamama, it’s been a journey of discovery, which is always changing in the way of kaizen (the Japanese belief in continuous improvement). It always keeps me engaged and having fun, which is one of the most important things.

7. What do you love most about the Flatiron District?

I love being right between Broadway and Fifth Avenue. It's like being on a film set! Plus, the people here are similar to Londoners, so I really feel at home.

8. Other than a visit to wagamama, what do you consider a "must-see” or “must-do" in the neighborhood?

On recent visit to New York, I went to a couple of real standout places. The first was Boqueria – perfect for tapas, plus a great wine list and amazing service. The cojonudo – fried quail eggs and chorizo on toast – is a must-try.

9. What's your favorite building or architectural element in the area?

Apart from our wonderful restaurant, I have got to say that being able to look at the Flatiron Building on a regular basis never gets boring! Truly stunning and so much history. And I always love to look out for the Chrysler Building on my way into Manhattan from the airport. Just beautiful.

10. Choose three words to describe the Flatiron District.

Unique. Surprising. Welcoming.

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Executive Chef Craig Koketsu of  <a target="_blank" href="http://instagram.com/quality_eats">@quality_eats</a>shares his Scalloped Sunchokes recipe 🙌 LINK IN BIO for the side dish ⬆️
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Executive Chef Craig Koketsu of @quality_eatsshares his Scalloped Sunchokes recipe 🙌 LINK IN BIO for the side dish ⬆️
1 day ago