How to make a New York City Bagel.

How to make a New York City Bialy.

Mark Strausman was born in Queens, New York, in 1956.  Growing up in Flushing, he was always attracted to cooking and often made meals for the family.  “My mom and I had a simple deal, which she loved, ” he recalls, “I would shop and cook, she would clean.”  His first job in the food service industry was selling peanuts at Shea Stadium, but he began to cook professionally while earning a degree in Hotel Management in the highly respected culinary program at New York City Technical College.  When the school offered to place him overseas after graduation, Mark jumped at the opportunity.

He spent the next four years working and training in some of the best five-star hotels in Europe, including the Hessischer Hof and Kempinski Hotel Gravenbrauch Frankfurt, the Montreaux Palace, Montreaux, and the Amstel Hotel, Amsterdam.  He was indoctrinated in the strict European caste system, working from the Comme de Cuisine to Chef de Cuisine.  “It’s kind of like being a musician,” he says, “you need to learn the classics before you can strike out on your own.”  Returning to New York in the mid 1980’s, Mark worked at the Stanhope and Jacqueline’s; using the classic continental skills he had gained abroad.

But his future was in Italian food.  “French food is great”, he says, “but there is only so much one can do with it.  You know with television they say that the medium is the message.  Well, with Italians the medium is food – good, sensual food.”  Early in 1988, Mark opened Sapore di Mare in East Hampton with Pino Luongo and the rest, as they say, is history.  Sapore became the hardest place in town to get table, as weekending New Yorkers made it the only place to be seen.  Late in 1990, the pair opened Coco Pazzo on the East Side of New York, which quickly garnered critical acclaim, including a coveted three-star rating from the New York Times.
In 1992, Strausman was selected Best American Chef by Tenimenti di Barolo e Fontanafredda in Alba, Italy, and received Grand Prize in the 1992 Proscuitto di Parma Chef Recipe Contest.

Leaving Coco Pazzo in June 1993, he founded Mark Strausman’s Entertainment Catering, a company that specialized in off-premise catering and special events, and whose functions included the 1994 Grammy party for SONY music at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Opening Campagna in June 1994, Strausman realized the dream of owning his own restaurant.  Labeled “media central” by New York Magazine, Campagna was an instant critical and commercial success.  At Campagna, Strausman’s simple, updated Italian peasant food has found a permanent home.
Campagna has expanded to include Campagna Catering, an off-premise catering company that already has an impressive client list.
In 1996 Strausman was chosen to Run Barney’s Restaurant in its flagship store on Madison and 61st street in Manhattan. This restaurant has gotten stellar reviews from New York Magazine and Gourment and has become one of New York’s premier party spaces in the evening.
In 1997 Strausman received a consulting contract with Wegman’s food market of Rochester New York this began a two year relationship of menu planning, product development, recipe program and corporate food training and team building exercises.
He help develop and get off the ground Wegman Italian classics.

In 2001 Barneys New York decided to move the restaurant Fred’s at Barneys New York from the lower level to the ninth floor.  Since the change the restaurant has become a haven for celebrities and New York society.  It has been featured in Woman’s wear daily,
The New York Observer for being the place to be seen for lunch in New York.

In 2003 Strausman developed a partnership with Pino Luongo the original owner of Coco Pazzo Restaurant where he was once chef. In September he took over the kitchen at Coco Pazzo and has restored it to it’s original three star rating with the New York Times.   Today Mark can be found at Fred’s during the day and at Coco for dinner.

Strausman has been featured in many publications, and on television, appearing on “The Late Show with David Letterman”, Lifetimes popular “The Home Show”, late night with Conan O’Brien, Discovery “Home Matters” CBS “This Morning”, and a regular guest on Martha Stewart Living, among others.


45 Responses to About

  1. Debbie Maydet-Schnur says:


    It’s been a long time since I saw you at Campagna with Liz & Fred. I googled your name & was happy to read about all you success, I didn’t know about your book, “Two Meatballs in the Kichen”, now I’ve gotta pick up a copy soon…the reason I am contacting you is that I am part of an effort to plan an Electchester/Pomonok reunion. A few old buddies have connected through common friends and are now on http://www.facebook.com. Me, Mitch Yanofsky (now Yanoff) and Rita Jablonski are trying to organize it together. If you are interested, please send me your e-mail address & I will send you a link to join facebook, it’s not just for teens anymore..once you’ve joined, you can add yourself to the “Were You a Teenager in the 70s Who Lived/ Hung Out in Electchester/Pomonok? ” group….I hope you get this e-mail, my e-mail is dr.schnur@verizon.net

    • mstrausman says:

      It has been come to fred’s

    • Joe Anderson says:

      Mark, I could never forget the super nice kid who sold beer for Forbee Bros in Queens while taking cooking courses. I, Joe Anderson, was your sales manager. My brother, Simon, was also a salesman there. Perhaps you might remember, I used to call you “Rock” for your determination which ultimately took you where you have been going. I was proude of you then and am proud of you now. Please be well.

      Joe Anderson

  2. Stephanie Leese Emrich says:

    Thursday 21 May 2009

    Dear Chef Mark,
    You are truly an icon, and I can hardly believe we just shook hands at Fred’s Chicago! Please, do let me know how our concierge community can best serve you.


    Stephanie Leese
    Chef Concierge, The Talbott Hotel

  3. Lou Gastright says:

    For years I have been serving your salad of beets, potatoes, arugala, white beans, and red onions. It’s one of my (and several friends) favorite company dishes. Next time I’m in Chicago, I’ll be sure to hunt for your restaurant.

  4. sarah says:

    A number of years ago I’m pretty sure I saw you on a Jewish Cooking Show on PBS. There was a recipe you did for apple and sweet potato casserole topped with a corn-flake and granola mixture. I’ve made it ever since then and my family loves it. It seems though that I’ve lost the recipe. I’m hoping maybe you can help me. Also, I’d love your input on adapting this for people who are doing the ‘No White Diet.’

    Thank you.

  5. Amy says:

    Dear Chef:
    I love your chopped salad at Fred’s. Everytime i am in New York it is my must go to lunch spot for the salad. Unfortunately I live in DC and still crave it. Would you share the recipe? Soon? As I am in withdrawl.
    Thank you!

  6. Paula Straussman Sutfin says:

    Hi Mark: I have kept up with your wonderful success thru the years. Your father and my father (Uncle Jack) are brothers. I have several pictures of my Uncle Joe, Aunt Marilyn and you and Eric from visits in the Bronx a million years ago. Just wanted to say hello and wish you continued success. It’s been so many years – hope Eric is doing well. If we are ever in New York to visit, I would love to say hello. Paula

  7. […] from the original Fred’s in NYC? I worked extensively with Fred’s executive chef, Mark Strausman learning how to execute his menu so that our many customers who visit here from New York will get […]

  8. […] menu from the original Fred’s in NYC? I worked extensively with Fred’s executive chef, Mark Strausman learning how to execute his menu so that our many customers who visit here from New York will get […]

  9. brian kap says:

    Hey Straus-

    Haven’t had contac in over thirty years but took my daughter to look at colleges last week – looked at Penn State and thought of you. Maybe you were right back then and the Nittany Lions do, in fact, rule.
    P.S. Glad to see you’ve done so well for yourself

  10. […] are times when we’d actually like to curse Mark Strausman — executive chef and managing director at Fred’s, Barneys’ Madison Avenue eatery […]

  11. Jane Ridolfi says:

    Hi Mark! Long time no see……great article in today’s NYTimes…..Hope all is well! Best, Jane

  12. JP Lee says:

    Hi Chef Mark, When I’m preparing my bagel dough, am I to use diastatic malt or non-diastatic malt in the batter? I really am enjoying making bagels from the YouTube video. Thank you!

  13. Lliana says:

    Hi Chef Mark,
    I’ve made the bagels from your post and they are fantastic (Actually the best one Ive tried) Im trying to do a cinnamon raisin variety with no luck. I doubled the yeast in the dough to accommodate the extra sugar and the raisins that I added, and its still dense and they dont float on their own.
    I was wondering if you could help. Thanks so much!!

    • mstrausman says:

      Not sure why this does not work. There is no need for extra sugar. Just at the end mix in the rasins and the cin. And go through the same process. They tend to be more dense then regular bagels anyway.
      Leave the yeast the same or add another 1/2 teaspsoon doubling them is probably what caused the problem.

  14. david mandy says:

    Mark, we really miss you. Is agriturismo coming back this spring?
    David and Elizabeth Mandy

  15. […] for Sunday brunch. It could be the bagels. Unhappy with what he has found on the market, Mark Strausman, the chef, has been making his own bagels and bialys. His are fermented and boiled with malt, then […]

  16. Barbara Betzler says:

    Dear Mr. Strausman,

    My husband, my little son and me really enjoyed your amazing bagle recipe!

    Thank you so much for your Youtube-Video!!!

    With best regards from Cologne/Germany,

    Barbara, Semjon and Juri

  17. Mark, thanks for the recipe. How can I scale up the recipe to make like 4 dozen bagels for a party? Would proportions be the same including yeast amount?

  18. Mark,
    We have been dining on your cuisine forever up and downtown and sideways.
    One night I was making osso buco out of your Comgagna cookbook and I got confised abt how nuch wine to put. I called you up at Compagna. You took the call and told me to dunp the whole bottle in.
    That’s what makes you the greatest chef in NYC.
    Via con Dios,
    Dan and Eileen

    212 222 4421 / 917 848 5600

    Daniel Douglas
    Eileen LaMorte
    Licensed Associate Real Estate Brokers
    Corcoran’s #1 Producers of Westside Sales
    President’s Council: Corcoran Top 25
    Co-founder: Corcoran’s Westside Division
    Wall St Journal Top Sales Teams Nationally
    212 875 2835 office
    917 848 5600 mobile
    212 230 7355 fax

    “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” A. Einstein

  19. Have saved your recipes forever,w
    hen you were on Martha Stewart. Some of the very best.memories are using your recipes to cook for my young Grandsons, who are now grown men, 21 and 22. One of their favorites is Penne alla Telefono, which I am going to make right now for myself. Time I thanked you and wished you all good things.

  20. Viviane says:

    Hi Mark
    I hope you are well. I have seen your amazing bagel video and would love to connect on all things bagels.
    I am an artisan baker, based in London (originally from Germany).
    I am actually currently in NYC but leaving Tuesday evening January 6 to return to London. Would you be available for a bagel conservation from one passionate artisan baker to another?
    Many thanks

  21. Tom Tschudy says:

    This is an old buddie Tom Tschudy from the mid-Eighties when you were in Frankfurt and Amsterdam. I recall our small band of good friends and hanging out at the Irish Pub in Sachsenhausen. I was unsucessful getting in touch with you earlier; it would be nice to get in touch and catch up sometime.

  22. Robert says:

    Hi Chef Mark,

    Greetings from Munich Germany, the bagels here are… well, let’s just say I needed to learn to make my own. The homemade recipes I have used up until now have satisfied the wife and inlaws, but since they haven’t had a real bagel, what would they know? And to me, the bagels I made were always missing something. The didn’t look right, the crumb wasn’t what I remembered, etc. So I searched around for professional recipes, and I liked yours the best in terms of presentation and watchability. I gave it a try and the results were promising enough to try it again. the lack of perfection on the first try is obviously due to my technique and not your recipe. I have some questions though.

    In the video recipe does the Poolish sit out uncovered for 8 hours or is it covered?

    Once the dough is mixed it gets 2 hours out, 4 hours in the Fridge, and then an additional 4 hours in the coolest part of the kitchen, is it covered only in clingfilm the whole time, should it be ever uncovered?

    Is there ever a punch down of your dough?

    Last but not least, since Euroflour is different than US flour, and I can’t get High Gluten Flour here, I have substituted what zee Germans call Manitoba Flour, does it make enough difference to try to either add gluten or order high gluten flour? I guess Manitoba is like 11 or 12% protein.

    Anyway thanks very much for putting the video out there. I’m looking forward to the next batch. If you have a book. I’ll buy it.

    • mstrausman says:

      please cover the poolish when it is sitting out.
      Dough should never be uncovered! the higher the protein the better in flour. keep working it and they will be great. Sorry for the delay.

  23. […] Week shopping expedition, BUT also to help dream up a swoony cocktail with Freds executive chef Mark Strausman.  The invitation recalled those early NYC days when I was 19 years old and worked as a […]

  24. richard says:

    hello chef mark,
    pardon me i have the same question as Robert. in the youtube video once the dough and polish is mixed do you leave it just 2 hrs out than 4 in the fridge.or do I need to leave it out again for additional hrs out in the kitchen.im confused when the subtitles say “8 hrs after it doubles in size” thank you sir.

  25. Marie says:

    Hi Mark,

    Do you teach bagel making classes?

    Would LOVE to join you for one.

  26. […] of the city and its expansive food culture better than just about anyone. After a childhood spent cooking dinner for his family in Queens, Strausman graduated from the culinary program at New York City Technical College. […]

  27. Gina says:

    Dear Mr. Strausman:
    It’s such a pleasure to hear from you again since the last time I proudly served in your prestigious Campagna Catering company during the late 90s Wegman partnership while interacting with the honourable staff members. After reading all the successful stories you have achieved so far simply surprised me how fortunate I was to have become a part of your honourable team in the past. You keep impressing us with all your talent, ideas and works of art in every possible way.
    Congratulations on your great efforts.
    Greetings from the south coast of Central Mexico.
    Best Regards,
    Gina Radilla.

  28. Gina Radilla says:

    Dear Mr. Strausman:
    It’s such a pleasure to hear from you again since the last time I proudly served in your prestigious Campagna Catering company during the late 90s Wegman partnership while interacting with the honourable staff members. After reading all the successful stories you have achieved so far simply surprised me how fortunate I was to have become a part of your honourable team in the past. You keep impressing us with all your talent, ideas and works of art in every possible way.
    Congratulations on your great efforts.
    Greetings from the south coast of Central Mexico.
    Best Regards,
    Gina Radilla.
    adapting menu planning, product development, recipe program and corporate food training and team building exercises .

  29. mattias gould says:

    Mark, I’ve followed your bagel recipe to the T but cant seem to get crumb crust texture on my bagels. What am I doing wrong, or what do I need to do to correct this?

    • mstrausman says:

      can you send me a picture of the bagels
      also where are you making them?

      • mattias gould says:

        I am baking them in an electric oven at 475 deg on a stone that has preheated for 2 hours, the crust has a hard skin almost what you would expect on a stale bagel but not crusty/crumbly as I see on your video, the interior texture seems to be good with many air pockets

  30. mstrausman says:

    Are you letting them cool before slicing them?

  31. mstrausman says:

    do they float when you boil?
    How long do you boil?
    Are the baked correctly
    really need a picture

    • mattias gould says:

      1. Yes they do float during boiling
      2. I boil them for 30 seconds each side
      3. Bake them for 4 minutes on a wetted burlap board placed on a preheated stone at 475 deg F
      4. Then flipped the bagels over directly onto the stone and continued to bake them for an additional 14 minutes at 475 deg F
      5. Unfortunately the bagels are gone I don’t have any to take picture of

    • Matt Gould says:

      Mark, I sent photo and want to pass some observations, when watching your video I noticed your bagels floated immediately when dropped into boiling water, mine dropped to the bottom and took about 12 seconds to float to the top.

      Sent from my iPhone


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