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After Roger Mooking backs out of Kultura, new owner promises redesign and hot-shot NYC chef

Chef Roger Mooking is simplifying his life. He and business partner Hanif Harji (they also own Nyood) have sold the chef’s first digs, Kultura Social Dining, to nightclub impresario Frank Nyilas—the fellow who owns Mink Night Club and Lounge, Lot 332, Tryst—and John Cabral, Nyilas’s step-father.

From Mooking’s blog:

As of today, Dec. 10th I am no longer involved with Kultura Social Dining. I have poured an incredible amount of energy, heart and soul into that building on King Street…over the years. All of the experiences have taught me a lot. The restaurant will continue to operate as Kultura albeit without my involvement. I wish for nothing but resounding and continued success. It is a beautiful space.

A family man as much as he is a globetrotting, product-endorsing, TV-star chef (Everyday Exotic on Food Network), Mooking was getting tired of never seeing his wife and kids. Still, the decision wasn’t made lightly. “I’m nostalgic about the place, as I have put a lot of time, energy and soul into it, but have learned that one must not covet possessions. Covet life not possessions.”

For his part, Nyilas—an art wholesaler-cum-clothing designer-cum-actor—plans on putting his own mark on the place. “I used to own an art gallery and I’ve got a flair for interior design, so I’m going to do a few things to the place.” Not the least of which will be the introduction of a reportedly wunderkind chef from New York City, who, for legal reasons, must remain nameless. All we know is he’s 27 and comes with Michelin-starred experience and a few Iron Chef battle scars (as Marcus Samuelsson’s sous).

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