Fast Company

Smoke Ring

Introducing the cast of "My Dinner with Mondo Cigarro."

Adam Tihany, 49

Day Job: Designer of such three-star restaurants as Monte's in London, Spago in Chicago, and the soon-to-open Le Cirque at the New York Palace.

Play Job: Poses as the Cigar Adviser in Cigar Aficionado.

House Rules: Strong cigars not allowed in the office (employees' rules).

Favorite Brands: Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 (Cuba), Partagas Series No. 4 (Cuba), Avo (Dominican Rep.).

Best Bonehead Advice: When Cigar Aficionado Publisher Marvin Shanken revealed his original plan for the magazine, Tihany told him, "Don't do it, Marvin, you'll lose your ass."

Drew Nieporent, 41

Day Job: "The best restaurateur in America" (New York Times). Restaurants include Nobu, Tribeca Grill, Montrachet, and San Francisco's Rubicon; partners include Robert DeNiro, Robin Williams, and Francis Ford Coppola.

Play Job: Washboard player in the Fabulous Pinballs, a New York band of chef/musicians.

House Rules: Cigars banned in the house (wife's rule); not allowed in the backyard, either (smoke gets in the house).

Favorite Brands: Onyx No. 852 (Dominican Rep.). "I love it. Don't you think it smells like manure?"

Advice: "It doesn't have to be Cuban to be a good cigar. A well-made cigar is a pleasure, no matter where it comes from."

Jeanette Bronée, 34

Day Job: "Retail Concepts Consultant." Translation: she creates high-concept designer stores like Emanuel/ Emanuel Ungaro and BCBG.

Play Jobs: Feng Shui consultant; licensed dive master; rides a Harley with a sidecar for Scout, her chocolate Lab.

House Rules: No problem. She smokes with her Cuban-born husband.

Favorite Brands: Don Lino (Honduras), Por Larranaga (Cuba).

Advice to Women: "When figuring out what you like, trust your smoke shop instead of your guy friends. They'll just want you to smoke their brand."

Steve Crawford, 32

Day Job: Investment Banker.

Play Jobs: Fly-fishing; cycling; dad stuff.

House Rules: No smoking at home (his rule -- he hates the dry-cleaning bills).

Favorite Brands: Paul Garmirian Double Corona, Griffin's Robusto, A. Fuente OpusX (all Dominican Rep.).

Advice: "When it comes to cigars, I always avoid dispensing advice."

Ken Aretsky, 55

Day Job: Restaurateur of New York's Patroon, Butterfield 81, Arcadia.

Play Job: Fly-fishing for trout on classic Catskill streams.

House Rules: Not an issue. Smokes two cigars a week at work.

Favorite Brands: Cohiba Robusto (Cuba), La Gloria Wavell (U.S.).

Advice: "If you enjoy it, it's a good cigar."

Mark Reiter, 44

Day Job: Executive Editor at International Management Group, a sports and literary mega-agency. Clients include John Madden, Martina Navratilova, Pat Conroy.

Play Job: "I run seven miles every other day -- it makes me feel better about smoking."

House Rules: Low WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) for smoking in-house. Solution: he walks around the block with his wife while smoking. "It's brought us closer together."

Favorite Brand: Double Chateau Fuente (Dominican Rep.).

Advice: "Set a price limit before you go cigar shopping."

Michel Roux, 56

Day Job: Marketing Genius. Created the image for Absolut Vodka. As president of Carillon Importers Ltd., he now handles Stolichnaya.

Play Job: Mushroom hunting in the South of France.

House Rules: No smoking at home (self-imposed).

Favorite Brands: "Whatever my friends give me."

Advice: "Give the best cigars you can afford -- you'll be doubly repaid for them."

Bob Kaminsky, 47

Day Job: Producer/director of TV specials starring Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Newhart, Martin Mull, Bette Midler.

Other Occupation: Brother of author.

Play Job: Golf, guitar.

House Rules: N/A -- smokes only rarely. He was visiting from L.A., so the author had to invite him.

Favorite Brand: "A good old Macanudo."

Advice: "Get invited to dinners like this one."

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