Landing Dolce and Gabbana and Burberry ads may satisfy many a model, but for Franco Noriega there was more to life than just being really, really, really ridiculously good looking. That’s why Peruvian-born Noriega is set to launch two new NYC restaurants this year. “You know, I come from a culinary background,” he said, according to Eater. “My parents owned different restaurants in Peru and Lima, where I’m from. We’re such a gastronomic capital.” After graduating from the International Culinary Center, he became set on opening a restaurant in New York City.
For the past eight years, he’s worked as a model, but he hasn’t let his culinary career fall by the wayside. He’s worked as a line cook at Bar Boulud, as well as a private chef. Noriega also owns two high-end Peruvian restaurants named Loreta. Next week, he’ll fulfill his dream of starting a NYC restaurant. First, he’ll launch a Lower East Side pollo a la brasa restaurant named Baby Brasa on May 26. Later this year, a bigger restaurant – simply called Brasa – will open at 317 Wythe Ave. in South Williamsburg.
Baby Brasa will mostly be a take-out/delivery spot and will only accommodate 12 people. Originally, Noriega planned to open Brasa first, but he didn’t want to keep waiting for permits for his Brooklyn restaurant; he just wanted to cook the kind of food he likes to eat. “This is the type of food that I’m always craving,” he said. “I go to the gym, and I’m hungry, and I really want to have a great meal. This is perfect for that.”
Both restaurants will serve Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken, quinoa, and rice and beans. Noriega adds that the food will be “super clean” and not unlike what he eats to maintain his sculpted physique. And even though it seems he may be too busy to continue modeling, he doesn’t intend to quit. “The restaurant business is very demanding, and I’m really focused 100 percent in it,” he said. “But I believe there’s time for everything.” God bless.