Hard to pick just one! I love my Microplane, a good pan or rondeau, and I use the food processor quite a bit. Also, a corkscrew. Great wine is a must in my kitchen, in the food and in the glass!
When I'm home, I'm writing -- for my blog, for travel guides, and working on my memoir-cookbook. When I'm out and about, I'm exploring restaurants and markets and interesting "finds" in New York City, and traveling as much as possible!
Personally, my ideal dinner party is one where I gather family and friends from various parts of my life, in a gorgeous setting, with great food and lots of wine flowing. For clients, the ideal party or event is one which brings clients' friends, family, and colleagues together, with delicious food and free-flowing drinks...and one they don't want to end early. Lots of smiles!
Bringing smiles to my clients' faces and helping them to make wonderful lasting memories. It's also, at the best of times, a fun and social job through which I get to meet great people!
Very hard to select one, but I'm known for my great Italian dishes, including amazing pastas, seafood, and meats, and in particular: EGGPLANT. Melanzane. Yes, I'm obsessed. I've turned many eggplant-haters into fans. I share the love. Also, chocolate desserts. I am trying to marry my 2 favorite ingredients into one dish...still working on the eggplant-chocolate combo.
Impossible! There are too many kinds of memorable meals. Tops are the tasting menu at Enoteca Pinchiorri in Firenze, a birthday meal at Le Bernardin in New York, fabulous fresh fish on the beach in Uruguay, my hunt for the best caponata among the Aeolian islands in Sicily, a spicy lemongrass shrimp dish overlooking the beach on Koh Lanta island in Thailand, amazing ceviche on the coast in Chile, incredible fresh seafood in Barcelona, a multi-course meal with fellow chefs in the Italian countryside with kilos of fresh caviar, a unique tasting menu in Paris...and many amazing meals in various homes with friends. Like I said, too many to mention all of them.
I prefer to pave my own way. I loved Julia Child growing up, and I adore Massimo Bottura, I really admire Ferran Adria', and I enjoy Sean Brock's tenacity and study of food history, but I don't aspire to be LIKE any of these chefs. Again, I like my own thing.
I first worked in a professional kitchen and, surprisingly to me, I loved it.
How to choose just one?
New York: Le Bernardin, Del Posto, Blue Ribbon (the original), Public, Yerba Buena
Rome: La Pergola, Il Sanlorenzo, San Teodoro, Sora Margherita...
Tel Aviv: Messa, Raphael
Certain spots in Florida, Charleston, Puerto Rico, Rio de Janeiro, Thailand, Florence, Paris, London, Morocco, Nice, Barcelona, Sicily, and on and on...
And Bodo's Bagels in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Prosecco, white wine, and good quality vodka. And good iced tea.
Great quality olive oil from Italy, high quality sea salt, canned San Marzano tomatoes, dark chocolate, and various vinegars and sauces including Asian (sriracha and hoisin).
Anything simple and homey, done well: matzo ball soup, beef stew, Vietnamese pho, turkey and stuffing, simple roast chicken and potatoes, polenta with "sugo" with ribs, sausage, etc. Even a good grilled cheese or BLT can be the most comforting thing, depending on timing.
NYC! Then: Rome, Firenze, Bangkok, Barcelona, Paris, Tel Aviv, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Marrakech, Lisbon, London.
Vietnam! Turkey! Back to Brazil and to eat at D.O.M. in Sao Paolo! Ceviche-palooza in Peru! Safari in Africa with time in Capetown and SA wine country! Cartagena, Colombia! Tangiers and Fez, Morocco!
Buffalo wings -- good ones -- or Korean fried chicken. And good BBQ.
Tie between summer and autumn.
Mint chocolate chip. But Haagen Dazs vanilla chocolate chip is divine too.
A good eggplant alla parmigiana or pasta alla Norma (a Sicilian pasta dish with eggplant). And I do eat chocolate every day anyway! Dark chocolate.
Probably poached...though I'm known for my fabulous "morning after" omelette with caramelized onions and boursin cheese.
Herbs: basil, Italian parsley, cilantro, rosemary...lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf?
Spices: peperoncino, telicherry pepper, cardamom, cumin, cinammon
I travel the world tracing the paths of culinary history, tasting food, meeting the people behind local foods, and exploring top restaurants in-depth!
Great olive oil and sea salts.
Great seafood at the beach, great tomatoes and stone fruits and berries in the country.
It's a beverage, and it's coffee. I know: weird. And I love the smell, just hate the taste. And yes, I'm a chef, and yes, I lived in Italy for years. Like I said, weird.