I guess the Chef has become ME. I started early working with my mom in her catering business, I was 10 at the time; it was a natural process, never planned, I just love to feed people period!
Is there an advantage as a woman chef?
No, it’s actually harder; since it’s considered a heavy-duty work there is a tendency of prejudging that a male would do the job better and easily
What do you do to stay educated about new trends?
It’s almost an obligation to do it so; I wish I didn’t have to, within all these back and forward culinary trends (good only to make better TV); I haven’t looked into anything that could possibly get near in flavor, texture and aroma to a real old school fashioned meal!
What do you do to insure the quality of the food going out to customers
Just constantly use my 5 (sometimes 6) senses and make of always using fresh ingredients
What is your favorite cuisine to cook? Why? (Looking for use of ingredients)
Italian, of course! The simplicity of the ingredients and the unique match of them make it irresistible.
How do you insure/test the quality of your ingredients?
Picking accurately my suppliers, ordering daily, prepping daily and in small batches, using seasonal ingredients, know where they’re coming from.
3. Favorite ingredient to work with?
Rosemary, Veal and polenta
How do you take ownership in your position there at Meatball Spot (looking for guest interaction, financials, organization, cleanliness, quality)
As I have always done with each and everyone of my restaurants, I am involved in every aspect of them, not only food. The starting point is the GUEST! That’s my first priority and focus; thinking in this way it became easier to move between all the restaurant’s tasks; if we communicate with our guests we get from them the very first tool to be successful, it calls the “feedback”; give to your guest what he’s expecting from, exceed his expectations if you can, but never fall short.
How involved are you with the menu development and overall design? Who do you feel should be involved in the decision? 100% on m menus, I am VERY territorial when it comes to my food, and very much on everything else, with common sense of course, I realize that I’m not an expert in some of theseaspects and I always respect different views, even because they help me to make the final decisions.
Tell me 3 things that you consider to be your strengths
Hard worker, early bird, non-pretentious
Tell me something you would like to learn or improve upon.
My computer skills, I’m a slow tipper and hate Excel; now, how can you be a Chef and hate Excel program…. You can’t! I’m working on it!
Tell me about an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career.
Bratalian, my Henderson Gem! Every time I step inside that place, I feel that I am home and the crowd feels like family to me; everyone in that room is a regular customer, and that says something about what I have done with my gift of cooking! It’s enchanting!
Most embarrassing cooking moment?
At my judging table at Top Chef 10, episode 5 listening to Tom Coliccho’s words
What are you most excited about right now?
What I always have been excited… Life itself! I love life!