TGATP: You’ve been a chef for over 25 years. What was your first restaurant gig?
Chef C: The Rusty Pelican Restaurant back in 1988
TGATP: You’ve worked at a number of interesting restaurants big and small? Do you remember them all?
Chef C: Yep, the Cheese Cake Factory, the Clevelander Hotel, the Grille Fish Restaurant, Banana Republic restaurant, Nicks On The Beach Restaurant, Farm House Restaurant, Gurneys Resort, Claudio’s Restaurant. Ocean Grille Fish, Pig and Whistle Restaurant, Tatiana’s Restaurant. Buggies Restaurant, and the Little Nail Resort.
TGATP: Where are you working now?
Chef C: Petaluma restaurant is my little house at the moment.
TGATP: Who are some of the celebrities that have been blessed to experience your culinary genius?
Chef C: Marc B Packer, Russell Simmons. Reverend Ron, Chris Lightly, Leonardo Di Caprio, Puerto Rican Top Chef Alfredo Ayala, Top Chef Rocco di Spirito, Top Chef Eric Ripper, singer Melanie Brown and husband, David Rosenberg, Noah Tepperberg and Judy Tepperberg, David Stout, Alex Rodriguez. Kate Hudson. NBA players Al Harrington and Chris Duhon, Padma Laksmi, to name just a few.
TGATP: Who are your favorite chefs and mentors?
Chef C: Top Chef Ross Siragusa and Chef Cecilio Matos,
TGATP: Thanks for the most amazing tasting meal I have ever had in the City! What are special aspects of your current menu that you have created at Petaluma?
Chef C: It’s very basic and simple Italian fare, but great enough to stand for itself.
TGATP: What inspired you to create this menu?
Chef C: The menu was a challenges for me because of the fact that I am not an Italian chef, but I can hold my ground.
TGATP: You serve an enormous amount of great meals every night? How many would you say you feed in a night?
Chef C: At Petaluma, we prepare about 150 to 350 meals per night. 300 to 500 a day.
TGATP: Wow! That’s a lot of happy eaters! How many people do you think you have fed in your whole career?
Chef C: I have no idea but I guess about 3,000,000!
TGATP: What are your hobbies?
Chef C: I take a lot of cooking courses and work out like an animal to be fit and be able to deal with the pressure of the kitchen.
TGATP: What drew you to New York City?
Chef C: New York is the capital of the world of cooking, If you can make in New York, you can make anywhere else and that is for sure.
TGATP: What are the favorite dishes in the restaurant or dishes to look for that you wish to point out?
Chef C: In my kitchen everything is done with professionalism, passion, and love, so when you come in to I can’t pick just a few..
TGATP: How would you describe your cusine?
Chef C: I hate to called “fusion cooking” but that’s what I do.
TGATP: What are some of the special events and projects you are involved in?
Chef C: I catered “Chefs Go Back To School” sponsored by First Lady Michelle Obama, I also work with Preston High School, in the Hamptons, teaching the students how to eat healthy.
TGATP: What music do you play while cooking?
Chef C: Buju Banton, Mega Banton, Capleton, Mister Vegas and Mister Marley.
TGATP: What kind of feeling do you want your patrons to leave with?
Chef C: I want my clients to feel at home away from home.
TGATP: What was the most memorable thing ever said about your cooking?
Chef C: I do remember when a lady told me once that my cooking was as good as sex, I could never forget that day!
TGATP: What do you do to refresh your restaurant skills and keep on top as an Executive Chef?
Chef C: Well, I usually interact with a lot of other chefs to keep my skills sharp.
TGATP: Please mention the awards and patches you proudly wear on your chef jacket when you are working?
Chef C: I am a member of the the three top best cooking organization out there – the American Culinary Federation, the World Association of Chefs and the James Beard Foundation..
TGATP: What is your recipe for success?
Chef C: My motto is always treat your clients as one of your own and your own should be the best of you.