Cooking is a beautifully orchestrated sport that is delicate in its ingredients and brash in its production. We curse, sweat and bleed like any athlete yet we are confined to the constraints of a room capable of fire from all angles. And that is where my passion for cooking was created, thru love of team and sports.
I started cooking because I was always hungry, it never got any simpler than that for me. My mother, who is a 5foot 2 Colombian, could burn water somehow and my father for all his wonderful attributes only knew a few things to make; eggs, pasta and steak. So naturally I began fending for myself because eating to me was just as important as anything else I had going on.
My passion for food began in Montclair, NJ at a small Italian sandwich shop named “Marzullo’s”. I started off sweeping floors, busing and just about anything they asked me to do so I could keep my job. I was always staring at the cooks while they were working and didn’t realize it at the time but I was enamored with food. I started making sandwiches from there and my culinary career didn’t necessarily take off but it gave me the base that I needed to start.
My two greatest teachers in the kitchen were Mitchell Altholz who ran 5 star restaurants; The High Lawn Pavilion, Pleasantdale Chateau and The Manor all at which I worked at with him. He was a Rockstar chef that became wiser and wiser as the years went down. He would try to show us that being a chef had little to do with the food you made or the check you received but by the loyalty you showed your team. To me, within those years I learned the ethics of being a cook and the base one needs to learn to become an effective chef. Character being the lesson. My idol is Tony Bourdain and its not so much that he rain the best steak house in NYC at the time(brasserie les halles) in the 90’s but he became famous for being candied and brutally honest about the ins and outs of everyday kitchen life. From his first job as an Italian fry cook working broiler as well, burning his hands along the way to writing kitchen confidential and catapulting himself into super stardom.
My style is French, not so much for the food I make but the technique and manner I prepare my food in. I believe in letting the ingredients speak for themselves and my sole job is to not fuck that up. When you sear a piece of meat or protein, never try to mask what youre cooking with sauces but rather let the natural sugars and flavors of the ingredient take over. Its not rocket science and never will be, food, so as the middle man I try to respect what Im cooking to the utmost.