Out of all the events I do, this is definitely a fun one. I took a lot of sculpture and painting classes in college, so when they gave me the painting to pair a dish with, it was really cool for me because I get to use my creativity and my art skills to match the colors and the style. Last year, I had this really cool painting of a hotel courtyard (David Hockney's View of Hotel Well III). There were a lot of reds and yellows and bright colors. So I did a beet latke with preserved Meyer lemon skin on it to match the colors. And it tasted really good too. This year I'm not sure what my painting is going to be yet, or what kinds of emotions it is going to evoke, so it's a really fun challenge that I'm looking forward to.
I majored in fine arts in Vermont, but I was born in New York City. When I moved back to the city, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I was dabbling in photography, but I had a cooking background and ended up working with this great chef, Cedric Tovar, and worked at a restaurant called Django as his line cook. I ended up learning a lot about French cooking from him. He took me to the Waldorf Astoria where we opened the Peacock Alley. After that, I worked with Chef Daniel Hum out of 11 Madison Park. I was lucky to work with a lot of great chefs, and learned a lot; just climbing that culinary ladder here in the city.
I worked with the guys over at the Fat Radish for years. I was their chef for many pop ups—we did one in Montauk, another in Rio de Janeiro. So when they opened up The East Pole with the Martignetti brothers, they wanted me to become the head chef over here so I could carry on that Fat Radish tradition. What we do is farm-to-table style food. I call it “elevated home cooking,” which is basic, simple recipes cooked on a higher level. Eastfields is our sister restaurant, so we carry on the Fat Radish tradition there as well. I've started creating my own style and throwing in my influences from my travels as well. When I did a pop up in Israel, I picked up a couple of cool dishes, such as the schwarma which is on the menu at the Eastfields.
I'm a pretty simple eater when I'm at home. We like to keep it healthy. I love kale, avocado, and a hardboiled egg. I know it sounds cliché—I honestly have probably slung more avocado toasts than any chef in New York City, but I really just love some avocado, egg, and sriracha for breakfast. It's just what I eat: it's simple, it's fresh, it's healthy. If we're going out, I really like sashimi. And there are also a lot of those noodle bowl places that are popping up. We're really getting into those as well.
To find out more or to buy tickets to Art of Food 2017, visit artoffoodny.com.