Favorite class to teach: Pasta Workshop
Training/education: BPS Advanced Culinary Arts, magna cum laude, Robert Morris University. Study abroad, Apicius International School of Hospitality, Florence, IT
Cooking since: 2004
Favorite childhood food experience: Making pasta and sausages and neck bones with my Grandpa and Golumpki with my mom.
What made you want to become a chef? The need to be creative every day
What is your signature dish? Risotto, pasta fresca
What are the 5 ingredients you can't live without? Onion, garlic, Parmesan, parsley, Diamond kosher salt
What do you love about cooking? How fleeting it is: we spend so many hours and so much effort making beautiful art, only for it to be devoured in an instant.
When you're creating a new recipe, what influences and inspires you? Any spark of inspiration, whether it's a memory, a song, fashion, art, can lead me down a tangent. Also, I love making modern twists on classic dishes and themes.
What advice would you give a new cook? Get better shoes, and understand what “behind!" means
What are you doing when you're not cooking? Sleeping
Describe your perfect evening. My cats, a good meal, and a killer record
If you had friends in from out of town, where would you take them to eat? The little dumpling shop down the street from my apartment (Katy’s Dumplings), DueLire, or Spacca Napoli
Where are you from? West burbs of Chicago
What was your favorite vacation? Live music hopping in Austin
What are your hobbies? Collecting vinyl, coffee lore
What is your favorite band? Iron & Wine, Tool
What is your favorite sports team? Sorry, I just don't do sports.
If you could have dinner with one person, who would it be? Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha), Michael Pollan, or Sam Beam
What are your guilty pleasures? Rod Stewart
Who is your favorite celebrity chef? Alton Brown and Wylie Dufresne
What 5 tools should every new cook have in the kitchen?
A good chef's knives
What resources would you suggest for students at The Chopping Block? Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking and The Flavor Bible
List three of your favorite tips or techniques you use in the kitchen.
Basic knife skills and Knife sharpening
Epicurean composite cutting boards, which is best of both worlds between wood and plastic.