Who are you
I am the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz ….please pay him no mind.
Where are you from
Brooklyn, New York, but not this Brooklyn.
How did you get into this field. Who or what was your inspiration
Inspiration was desperation… I was in a career going nowhere I needed something to do that I could love or at least fall in love with… Cooking was that thing…
What’s your go-to mantra
Just keep walking towards the sun
Do you have a pre-cook ritual
Not really no.
What is your ideal meal to cook for others? For yourself?
I like spending time at the Green market seeing what’s abundant and fresh…go from there. I like all the foods my mother made growing up.
What advice would you give to beginners
Work in the absolute best place you can. Learn as much as you can. Work really hard-harder than everyone else.
Do you have a set of tools you bring to the kitchen everyday? If so, what are they?
Nothing fancy …sharp knives …sharp good knives, a micro plane a heat proof spatula.
If you woke up tomorrow as an animal, what animal would you choose to be and why
A Lion, I like the way it just sees what it wants l, stays patient for as long as necessary and then pounces. I can relate to that.
Where’s your ideal vacation spot
Someplace sunny, warm and quiet.
First album you ever bought
It was probably the Beatles… Maybe Abbey Road
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten
Live squid was pretty weird.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want to have with you? And why?
A hammer for smashing coconuts, matches to light a fire and a shit ton of sunscreen. Because I’m practical.
Have you ever had a “Marcel Proust’s Madeleine” moment? If so, when and what was it?
All the time but a particularly lucid one when I was in Sicily… I walked into a bakery and the smells and sounds and sights were so familiar to me because the neighborhood I grew up in had many Sicilian immigrants. So all the flavors and varieties of pastry were identical to the ones I remembered as a child.
It took me right back to being a child at five. And as it turned out the owners of the bakery shop had relatives in Carroll Gardens Brooklyn. I could taste the square shaped cookies covered in sesame seeds (Biscotti Regina), which to this day are my favorite.