Food and fashion make for the perfect blend at a hip new concept tucked within streetwear boutique A Ma Maniére.
Developing his culinary skills at hotels in Baltimore, D.C., Boston, Charlotte, Las Vegas, Maui andmost recently in New York City, Adam Williams now joins A Ma Maniére EATS to bring to life this innovative lifestyle concept. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WHITAKER GROUP
Talk to us about A Ma Maniére EATS. What is the experience like, and what can we expect on the menu? EATS is a dining experience where you’ll be immersed in a setting that’s unique, stylish and, simply put, cool. You can place an order and watch as the staff prepares your meal, or catch the latest runway show on the digital display while listening to the latest tunes. If you’re passionate about great food and fashion, EATS is the place for you. The menu is updated seasonally—it’s a blend of fresh, in-season ingredients, as well as an homage to who I am as a chef. Having worked from Maui to Manhattan, you will see different influences throughout. Unique but relatable and, most of all, consistent.
What keeps you fired up? The best part of what I do is working with people and really giving our guests an incredible experience. The joy someone gets from the food I create is a feeling like no other. I have been in this industry for 19 years, and it really is a passion-driven profession. As you grow past the grind early on in your career, things really start to align as long as you focus on doing the work and letting it speak for itself.
Let’s talk soup to nuts... how did this dream turn into a reality? EATS has been an idea and concept for at least 10 years when all factors finally aligned and the timing was right. For us, it goes beyond shopping or dining. It’s a complete sensory experience—from the scent when you walk into our stores to the music playing and the warm welcome. We want you to feel the experience before you even engage with any food or product. We are in a lane of our own with a unique fine dining and retail concept, offering all guests, whether new or regulars, a memorable experience every time.
Our big news is… We are excited to share that our EATS concept will grow from the 21-seat cafe in Houston into a full-scale lounge and bar in our upcoming new A Ma Maniére flagship location in Atlanta. It will feature a 12-seat bar, private dining room, chef’s table, open kitchen and a variety of seating options for up to 80 guests. The cherry on top is a rooftop with a view overlooking the city’s skyline, offering a new dimension for us to bring our guests into our experience. In addition, we are planning our first New York City location, coming to Harlem in the near future.
Where did you first develop your culinary passions? My love for cooking came from watching my grandmothers Ruth and Pauline in the kitchen growing up. The love they would put in their food and how it brought our whole family together is a dearly cherished memory. From a young age, I was always passionate about food. As I grew older and saw the success my father had as a professional chef, I knew it was a path I wanted to follow. So I ran with it and never looked back since.
Fresh ingredients and unique flavors add a colorful spin to each dish. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WHITAKER GROUP
What’s the secret to success in the kitchen? Cook with love and passion from your heart. I can have the most expensive ingredients, but if I don’t put love into it, none of it matters. You cook how you feel, and I’m truly a happy man, always smiling, and it shows in the food I create. I want the same for my team—to work in an environment where you can show creativity and enjoy what you love to do. Remember: Taste is everything.
In 2021, creation is all about… Getting back to the basics. And that can be in anything. We all have had to readjust or pivot over the last year, especially in the culinary industry. I’ve wanted EATS to have a fine dining flair, and we’re really focusing on the details at the moment, doing the simple things really well. Being able to create is what drives any chef—taking an item, ingredient or idea and transforming it into something unexpected or drastically different. That’s why I love braising, a cooking technique where a tougher cut of meat is cooked low and slow to add depths of flavor. This process makes the meat tender and succulent to the bite.
Are there any local organizations you are involved with? For our company and my own family, we are passionate about building and helping organizations focused on supporting people and enhancing their lives. Within The Whitaker Group organization, we have our own nonprofit arm, The Whitaker Project. Our community team is immersed in the Houston community and beyond, running programs and projects to support growth, development and opportunities for underserved communities. Most recently, we were able to raise more than $70,000 to help Black and brown families affected by the winter storm in Houston. Over the last year we have also locally supported The Forge for Families.
What’s next for chef Adam? We are launching our two beverage programs: our coffee service and our first cocktail menu. For coffee we are now serving espresso, cappuccino and latte options. As for spirits, we will feature highend spirits alongside some classic cocktails, a wine and Champagne selection by the bottle and a few local beers.
I am committed to continuing to grow the EATS brand and bring more awareness to our unique experience and concept. We aim to be an integral part of the neighborhoods and communities we belong to, and there are a lot of opportunities for us to serve and contribute to the city of Houston, its passionate foodies and food scene.
I would also love to develop an incubator kitchen in the community where we can help young, passionate entrepreneurs bring their dream and vision to life. We want to build and create opportunities that open up more paths for those aspiring to forge a career in the culinary arts. 3300 Kirby Drive, #6a, a-ma-maniere.com
Photography by: The Whitaker Group