Home chefs on the Upper East Side looking to elevate their cooking with the finest ingredients used by the pros, look no further than Madison Fare. Private chef Amin Kinana is putting his 15 years of experience cooking around the globe to work for you — opening a brand new gourmet market and gift shop on Tuesday, September 6th, in Carnegie Hill.
Nestled between 88th and 89th streets at 1225 Madison Avenue, Madison Fare: Gourmet & Cadeaux — French for “gifts” — is a connoisseur’s love letter to Kinana’s craft. The first-time business owner is excited to share his knowledge of food and his passion for cooking with the Upper East Side.
Offering a wide variety of gourmet products — from dark chocolate-covered orange slices to organic Cambodian peppercorns to Japanese ponzu yuzu sauce — Kinana, 33, hopes to provide something for everyone.
“The kids can come and have a cookie, the parents can come buy a nice gift basket for them, and also buy high-end products. So it is for everyone,” he told Upper East Site in an interview.
Madison Fare boasts ingredients from such places as Japan, Denmark, and Greece, as well as chocolates and pastries made by Kinana himself, and “grab-and-go” options made fresh daily.
Kinana says he wants to use his experience to expand the minds — and palates — of every customer that walks in, leveraging his expertise to help average home cooks looking for advice on dinner party menus, in addition to private chefs looking to ramp up their craft with the carefully selected products he has relied on for years.
“Even people that just have questions about anything, I’m happy to help them, or give them ideas about food,” he said.
Walking around the small, warmly-lit store, Kinana points out his favorite products, neatly stacked on navy blue wooden shelves. Recounting the unique provenance of every box and bottle he picks up, he says, “I want to bring in stuff that is like, organic, and doesn’t have [those] weird substances in the product.”
Holding up a box of TartufLanghe truffle pasta, he remarks on the seven years he’s been using the Italian brand. “My clients love this pasta. It’s a winner.”
Moving to another shelf he picks up a brown bottle decorated with artful Japanese writing. “So this is all sourced from special makers in Japan. So this one is like a persimmon vinegar; very rare to find.” Right next to it is a “very good quality wasabi.” He stresses its authenticity, saying that many brands are actually just horseradish dyed green.
Walking over to the display case by the window, Kinana points to the brightly-colored and textured chocolates under the glass. He explains how he doesn’t use any artificial colors in his chocolates, and that the red color comes from strawberries.
The passion he has for his craft is evident in his reverence for each item on his shelves. Born in Sweden to Moroccan parents, Kinana was surrounded by food from a very young age. Both of the 33-year-old’s parents were in the food industry, and he started cooking at 14, telling Upper East Site, “It was natural for me.”
Kinana attended culinary school in Sweden, and also took courses in Singapore, Tokyo, and Barcelona, where he studied the pastry arts. His worldliness is reflected in his vision for Madison Fare, a place where food enthusiasts and beginners alike can go to find well-sourced foods.
Kinana says Madison Fare is set apart from its competitors not only by his expertise and careful curation, but by an accessible price range he says is not found in other gourmet stores.
“Anyone that comes in can buy a $9 bottle of [olive] oil or the one that’s going to buy a $60 bottle of olive oil,” he says.
Of his impending launch, Kinana says, “I hope it’s going to work because I’m bringing in something that doesn’t really exist. It’s not just a food store. It’s not just a grocery store. It’s an experience.”