Hi Josh, let’s start from the basics: what is your favourite Italian dish?
It’s hard to choose a favourite dish, I think my preferences change with the seasons. That being said, I think Lasagna Bolognese is always a favourite.
How would you define yourself with three adjectives?
Creative, Adventurous, Curious.
What did the experience at ALMA represent for you? What is ALMA for you?
ALMA was an amazing opportunity for me to learn and be exposed to authentic regional Italian cooking. My experience at ALMA was irreplaceable. It was truly unique, and I felt lucky every day to be there. I tried to soak up as many details as possible, and taste as much as I could. Memory informs so much of what we do as chefs, so paying attention and tasting everything was very important for me. ALMA exposes students to the true essence of Italian cooking.
Tell us about your experience as a test kitchen director and about how nowadays communication needs and trends are shaping the food world.
When I graduated from culinary school, I spent a few years working in restaurants in New York City. I learned a lot in culinary school, but nothing can truly prepare you for working in a serious restaurant. You have to learn from experience, in the restaurant itself. Later, I worked in catering for a couple years, before ultimately working for Food52 as their Test Kitchen Director. Food52 is a resource for home cooks. I help create recipes, articles, and videos about cooking, trying to appeal to a wide audience of home cooks. Nowadays, home cooks are smarter than ever before. They want to seek out the best ingredients and learn everything they can. Food52 uses social media and their website to reach as many home cooks as possible, inspiring them to eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.
What do you recommend to a chef who graduates from ALMA and would like to enter into this world?
My advice to any young cook is to use the first few years of your career to learn as much as possible. Don’t focus on money or prestige. Simply focus on working for someone who truly inspires you and you can learn from. If you push yourself early in your career to work for the best chefs in the world, then doors will be eventually open for you.
What will be like – or what kind of features should he/she have – the Next Generation Chef?
It’s not enough to cook brilliantly. Chefs in today’s world need to think about the health and well-being of their own kitchen staff. The days of working 14 hours every day are over. Kitchens need to be more sustainable for the cooks.