EMM Group Star Chef Hung Huynh Quits Because He ‘Wasn’t Taken Seriously’

Posted on: February 10th, 2015 at 5:12 am by

This image has been archived or removed.

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.​

Recent Stories

Developer Begins Demolition of Rutgers Street Playground for Temporary Parking Lot

Demolition work began this week on a Lower East Side park that is a focal point in the tension between the community and developers on the waterfront. The backhoes are out and job now underway at Rutgers Park, the small public space beside the Lands End II residential development. Removal of the playground began yesterday, including […]

The 3 Lower East Side Walk-ups that Sold for $35M

Earlier this month, we reported that SMA Equities, the Long Island real estate firm with controversial history on the Lower East Side, sold a portfolio of its area properties. SMA unloaded three tenement walk-ups to Daniel Fishman of GAIA Real Estate – 102 Norfolk Street, 177 Ludlow Street, and 99 Allen Street – for an […]

H&M Debuts Pop-up Hotel on the Bowery this Weekend

Fashion retailer, H&M, is headed to the Lower East Side this week with a pop-up hotel concept. Starting tomorrow, prospective guests can access the so-called Hotel Hennes via the eponymous 3 Freeman Alley. The three-day publicity stunt will be open through Saturday, from 2 to 9pm. Guests will be able to check in for an […]

Sneakerhead Arrested for Knifing Customer at Hypebeast ‘HBX’ Opening on Division Street

A watershed moment for Hypebeast transformed into a melee on the Lower East Side last week. The Hong Kong-based fashion and lifestyle publication on Friday officially debuted in the seven-story commercial loft building at 41-43 Division Street. Its ground-level store – dubbed HBX – attracted a queue of sneaker heads waiting for a limited edition Nike […]

Arsonist Torches Eldridge Street Beauty Parlor

Two people were injured yesterday evening after an arsonist set ablaze a beauty parlor on Eldridge Street, according to several published reports. The incident transpired shortly before 5:00pm at the Sa Sa II Beauty Salon, located at 129 Eldridge Street. Cops said the suspect poured gasoline inside the store and set it on fire. (Initial […]