Mary Attea is the Executive Chef at The Musket Room, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood.
Attea took the helm in February, 2020, executing a tectonic shift in The Musket Room’s genre from New Zealand cuisine (which the restaurant had been known for since opening in 2013) to a more globally-inspired menu. Faced with the pandemic the following month, she was integral in helping the all-female ownership and management team weather the storm and maintain their Michelin-star. She uses her extensive fine-dining experience and family culinary memories to create menus that defy categorization, deftly infusing Middle-Eastern, Mediterranean, Asian and new American influences into dishes that are wholly original yet firmly rooted in their histories.
Prior to The Musket Room, Attea cooked at High Street on Hudson alongside superstar baker Melissa Weller. Years earlier as Chef de Cuisine at Annisa, renowned Chef Anita Lo’s beloved and critically acclaimed contemporary American restaurant in Greenwich Village, she established herself as a force in the kitchen, garnering three stars from The New York Times and upholding the restaurant’s Michelin Star. She was also a finalist on Eater’s coveted Young Guns list of up-and-coming chefs.
A graduate of ICE Culinary School, Attea’s path to the kitchen was winding. She went to a small college in North Carolina and majored in psychology, developing a proclivity for the forensic side of the field. She moved to New York City to attend John Jay College for her Master’s Degree, but her side job bussing tables quickly developed into a passion for the restaurant industry.
Originally from Buffalo, New York, Attea was the youngest of 4 in a tight-knit family that loved to eat. Her Dad was of Lebanese descent, so they always had hummus, pita bread, grape leaves and baba ghanoush in the fridge. A multi-sport athlete, she grew up playing soccer and softball, but she mostly reveled in family gatherings around the table.