If you’ve been to Lolita lately, you have this man to thank for your great meal. He’s one of Michael Symon’s most trusted chefs (even helped him on his first Iron Chef battle). At work, he’s known for much more than great cooking abilities – he’s apparently quite the chatter box, hence the nickname chatty. Maybe that’s because he is one of 11 kids (he and his wife are expecting their first in December).
1. The top 5 spices that are a must in every kitchen? Kosher salt, peppercorns, coriander, chili flakes and chef 2 chef steak seasoning.
2. What is your favorite and least favorite thing to make? I’m really enjoying making the pizzas. I also enjoy pig roasts and clambakes. Desserts have been my least favorite.
3. If you could cook for one person, real or dead, who would it be? It would be a table of Michael Symon, Frank Rogers and Thomas Keller. They have meant the most to me during my cooking career and it would be fun to show them how far I have come.
4. You’re having a dinner party, what are the top 5 songs on your play list? This is a funny question. It would probably be quiet since nobody would want to listen to Garth Brooks while they’re eating!
5. Favorite restaurant in Cleveland? I have a bunch but Flying Fig and Momocho stick out the most.
6. What restaurant do you miss? Theory
7. What is your favorite thing on the new menu? The pizzas. They’re easy to make and are very good. I’m currently going to school to be certified on making them.
8. Where does your passion for food come from? Seeing people happy. I take it pretty hard when people experience a bad meal that our kitchen put out.
9. Most unusual food you have ever tried? Confit of lamb heart salad.
10. If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing? I wouldn’t be a math teacher!
11. What was your time like on Iron Chef? What a time that was – pretty nerve racking and exciting at the same time. We went in with a game plan and had to tweak it a bit when we found out it was asparagus. We felt that we cooked great and there wasn’t a whole lot more we could do at that point. I would love a rematch.
12. What foodie mags/shows do you watch? Next Iron Chef, I enjoy reading your blog, Ruhlmans, Bruni, clev food/wine and I just found a new one that is funny – raging server.
13. Any plans to open your own restaurant? Not for at least six more years! The day will come when I have to do something, just not sure yet. This month I celebrate10 years working at the restaurant and am happy to have the opportunity to work for the best chef in the city (in my opinion).