Joined :9/18/2011 | Video Recipes: 0 | Follow Chef
Torrington, CT United States

"To best understand my philosophy about food, reading Calvin Trillin's book, 'The Tummy Trilogy' is the place to start.

I began cooking at a very young age. It was at our villa in Florence overlooking the Tuscan countryside that I began that journey watching our beloved cook Josephina pluck the feathers from a freshly slaughtered chicken still intact. Friends of the family would celebrate with us bringing over estate bottles of unfiltered extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs, lamb, whole aged hams, etc...

When we moved back to Manhattan at the age of seven, I began to cook for the family. At first it was simple dishes like eggs advancing to more complicated fare as I felt more comfortable in the kitchen. Being Jewish with a love for Italian and French cuisine, the pantry was well stocked and one could just as easily get schmaltz to herbs du Provence to olive oil carried back from Italy by hand.

After graduating high school, I began my culinary career in the dish and pot room working my way up the culinary ladder until I was cooking dinner for up to 300 people per sitting.

Being sous-chef to chef in various restaurants in the northwest hills of Connecticut gave me a solid background in technique. I felt strong and confident behind the line.

In 1992 I moved to Kansas City where I soon found out about the world of corporate cooking which was a new concept at the time. Becoming sous-chef for Macaroni Grill in Overland Park opened my eyes to a new world of food production, one where creativity and quality product was not a factor.

I left this well paying job to join the retail food business at which point my life took a new exciting and unexpected turn. I would eventually become one of a select few fishmongers trained in specialty seafood purchasing, handling and merchandising. I consulted to many of the countries finest specialty markets, including, Hey Day, Dean and DeLuca, Jack's Market and Chalet Gourmet (now Bristol Farms).

As a personal cook, my areas of special interest are Mexican, New Mexican, American Mexican (by state), BBQ, and Americana in general. I still appreciate the early learnings of my continental background, but my heart is in food that your heart loves. To paraphrase Calvin, the kind of food I like to cook is not found where 'you take your aunt and uncle to their 50th anniversary, but where your cousin wants to go his first night back from Iraq.'