★ Franco Sampogna is the Chef of Jema’s restaurant. His cuisine focuses on the locally sourced ingredients of New York with an emphasis on simplicity, purity and seasonal flavors.
Born in Brazil, Franco Sampogna grew up in a multicultural environment thanks to his dad’s Italian origins. At the age of 17, he moved to Nice where he learned the basics of cooking at Villefranche-sur-Mer in the Alps at the restaurant La Mère Germaine.
He was a finalist in the ‘Saveurs Olives’ regional competition. Once he received his diploma, he discovered Michelin star restaurants by working alongside Chef Fabrice Vulin at La Chèvre d’Or, a two-Michelin star restaurant.
In 2011, his first Parisian venture was alongside Guy Savoy in his three Michelin star restaurant, who believes that cuisine is an art for transforming products with real history.
In 2012, he joined as one of the Chefs for the Alain Ducasse restaurant at Hôtel Plaza Athénée. It is there that he discovered the art of fine dining and working with the essential basics and simplicity of a product, allowing for its natural taste to be highlighted as opposed to using any additional ingredients.
In 2014, he took part in the reopening of the restaurant following the hotel’s closure for expansion, with the creation of its new concept based on the trilogy of fish, cereal and vegetables; unveiling the importance of eating more healthily whilst respecting the environment.
He then decided to enter the international San Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 competition, along with another 3621 candidates. Selected amongst ten French Chefs for the semi-finals at only 24 years of age, he won second place on February 10, 2015.
Sampogna met TV personality and inventor Joy Mangano while he was cooking on a private yacht. Having travelled to many countries, Sampogna was always drawn to the US and specifically NYC and knew that he would someday cook there to discover and be part of the culinary culture and unique energy that had captivated his attention for years.
Three years after meeting Mangano, he received a call from her that made his dream to come to America a reality. He enthusiastically accepted her offer to come open Jema in Huntington, with his handpicked team, on September 7th 2016. Sampogna was delighted to find top quality products and exceptional produce from local Long Island farms equal to the caliber of ingredients he used abroad, allowing him to create his unique and refined cuisine.
★Born in Setubal, Portugal, Bernardo Carolo was intrigued by the art-de-vivre from an early age, exposed to his father’s antiques business and life stories of the 70’s in London and in the South of France. Carolo marveled at his father’s well-trained eye and exquisite taste and was especially impressed at how he would turn old worn pieces into beautiful new masterpieces.
Boosted by his father’s stories he was itching to see the world and discover new cultures and languages, so as soon as he graduated at the age of 17, he moved to the South of France where he fell in love with the world of hospitality at his godfather’s hotel, The Windsor, in Nice which at that time was considered a pioneer at mixing Contemporary Art with Hospitality.
Now living and working in Nice, Carolo met Franco Sampogna, who was on a similar journey to discover the world and aspired to become a chef. The two became fast friends and shared their ambition and mutual dream to come work in New York and one day open a restaurant together.
Carolo started studying Hospitality Management while working at the Windsor for four years learning every aspect of hospitality by doing every possible job from front desk to food and beverage operations, and finally management. Meanwhile, Sampogna went to cooking school and worked nearby at the Michelin star restaurant La Chèvre D’or.
During their free time they shared ideas for their future venture someday in the US. The two travelled together to Paris; Sampogna went to work for Guy Savoy and Carolo went to the newly open luxurious five star hotel, The Shangri La to absorb the industry benchmarks at the most competitive five star hotel market in the world.
He found it to be a very enriching experience but he wanted to refine his expertise in customized high-level hospitality so he moved on to work on super yachts and luxury Chalets as a Private Butler. This allowed him to travel and immerse himself in many different cultures (Italy, Spain, Switzerland, US to name a few) while offering him the opportunity to cater to a very powerful luxury clientele.
Missing the energy and ambiance of working in a restaurant, Carolo moved back to Paris to work with then rising star chef David Toutain who received a Michelin star in his first year of service. Carolo’s collaboration with the talented and passionate chef Toutain offered him the priceless experience for his future collaboration with Chef Sampogna.
★ Joy Mangano is one of today’s most-successful inventors and entrepreneurs. A Long Island native, Joy is best known as the inventor of the Miracle Mop and Huggable Hangers, and has spent the past 30 years pursuing her dream to simplify everyday challenges with innovative products that make a real difference.
Joy is President of Ingenious Designs LLC, a company that she founded in 1990 and is currently headquartered in Ronkonkoma, NY. She has appeared live in homes across America to launch new products and technologies for the past 15 years.
Joy is also the inspiration behind the Twentieth Century Fox film “JOY,” which was directed by David O. Russell and features Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro.
Growing up in an Italian home on Long Island, Joy developed a natural passion for all things food. Following the success of the Miracle Mop and numerous other home product inventions, Joy expanded her product line into the culinary category.
Joy sought to revolutionize cookware in both design and function. In 2007, Joy launched the very first environmentally friendly cookware with PTFE/PFOA free, ceramic non-stick technology.
In addition to her Joy brand, she also manages celebrity product lines for Chef Ming Tsai and Chef Lorena Garcia, with whom she works closely to conceptualize and create a diverse offering of high quality appliances, utensils and cookware.
In 2009, Joy decided to bring her love of Italian food to the world, opening her first restaurant, Porto Vivo, in Huntington, NY. Now as a seasoned entrepreneur and restauranteur, Joy is excited to renovate, rebrand and reopen the Porto Vivo space under a new name, Jema, which means “gem” in Portuguese.
In partnership with Chef Franco Sampogna, the Jema restaurant experience will feature exuberant globally inspired dishes, sourcing the best and freshest locally sourced seafood, meat and vegetables with a focus on seasonality and sustainability, as well as well appointed décor that will help you escape to a culinary paradise. Jema will open in August 2016.
Today, Joy is a busy working mom and grandmother. She is constantly inspired by real life and always looking for creative new ways to bring a little more “joy” to people everywhere.