Mark Ladner

The celebrated chef and winner of the James Beard “Best Chef in New York” award, Mark Ladner, announced he would be leaving his post as executive chef at New York City’s four-star Del Posto restaurant at the start of 2017 to dedicate himself to the launch of his quick-serve Pasta Flyer restaurant, according to the New York Times.

He told the paper he hopes the idea will grow from the first restaurant, planned for Greenwich Village, into a chain.

“Old world cuisine at light speed” is the tagline behind Ladner’s venture. The upscale fast food concept, born as a pop-up spot in 2014, is designed to serve gluten-free, high-quality pasta dishes on the fly.

Ladner told the Times he had “cracked a code” in serving up pasta in mere seconds: “a good bowl of pasta, reasonably al dente, appropriately sauced, made with high-quality ingredients, in the same amount of time it takes a Chipotle outlet to roll a burrito,” he said.

Lauded as the best of the best in his field, the master of regional Italian cooking attended the Olive Oil Program at New York’s International Culinary Center where he discussed the Pasta Flyer project and demonstrated how he pairs extra virgin olive oils in his cooking.

The use of high-quality ingredients, Ladner believes, thoroughly translates to his version of fast food and the method he has developed for par-cooking, then re-heating and saucing, a small-producer-brand of pasta, Felicetti, in less than 20 seconds.

Meanwhile, as noted by The Times, Ladner’s successor, Melissa Rodriguez, will be the first woman to head a four-star New York City kitchen when she takes over the executive chef position at Del Posto upon Ladner’s departure.

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