Brooklyn, NY: My current, and probably future, home. I live in Park Slope and love every thing about it, even the train ride because it takes me over bridges with clear views of the Statue of Liberty and sometimes the Brooklyn Bridge – two of my favorite sites in the world. My family lives in TriBeCa (downtown Manhattan) and I work in SoHo at the The International Culinary Center (founded as The French Culinary Institute), so I also spend a great deal of my time in Lower Manhattan, only venturing above 23rd Street for the promise of absolutely delicious food or innovative cocktails – preferably both.
Travel Plans: As of today, Sunday, February 17, 2013, I am preparing for a ski trip to Utah and a long-awaited week in Rome. I just finished a three-week stint on a pop-up food truck here in NYC that took up all my waking hours but was well worth it – we generated $35,000 in donations from Stouffer’s (Nestle) for the Mayor’s Relief Fund for Hurricane Sandy victims. This was hot on the heels of a fantastic trip to the San Francisco Bay area which I’ll write more about very soon.
Travel Plans: This is more about hopes and dreams… This list remains long – I didn’t check off enough in 2012, so 2013 will be the year for lots of travel!
- Thailand (Bangkok, et al) – top of the list and hoping to be checked off in the fall
- Back to the Philippines… maybe a month in Southeast Asia and the islands?
- Australia (I know, it’s big – probably Adelaide to visit my Alma Mater)
- Havana, Cuba
- Cartagena, Columbia
- Santiago, Chile
- New Orleans
Growing up, I spent equal time pretty much in Buffalo,NY, Southold/Greenport, NY, and Columbus, OH. I visit Southold & Greenport frequently now, but haven’t been back to Buffalo or Columbus in quite some time.
I initially moved to NYC in 1991 and have considered it home ever since despite the fact that for 11 years I was living elsewhere.
Alta, UT (Salt Lake City): I spent 5 years doing a number of food and wine related jobs including a 2 year stint as a restaurant owner (don’t recommend it) while I tried to learn to love skiing, mountain biking, and the great outdoors (didn’t work for me). My favorite, and longest lived incarnation, was owning a private chef business that catered to the upscale condo and home rental market in all of Utah’s premier ski resorts… this was the basis for my next business in my next “life”.
Napa Valley, CA: In the time I was there I lived in Napa, St. Helena, and Oakville. This is food and wine lover’s paradise but a terrible place to be a single grown up. Most of what has shaped my current career happened to me while I was there. I freelanced as a chef and front of the house catering manager for wineries (only the best!), beautiful-amazing restaurants that are sadly long gone, and successful catering companies run by fabulous people… I miss all of them! I lived with should-be-famous wine makers, other chefs, superstar bartenders, and a long list of gypsy wine and food industry geeks. They were, and still are, my family.
I did the Viticulture and Enology program at the Napa Valley Community College, the Court of Master Sommeliers program and a number of classes at The CIA at Greystone’s professional wine studies program (where I also worked for several years), began my Master’s Degree in Gastronomy (finished in NYC), contributed to Fork Me, Spoon Me: the Sensual Cookbook (soon to be published in Greece), the recently released Romancing the Stove: The Unabridged Guide to Aphrodisiac Foods, and co-authored Chile Aphrodisia with Amy Reiley (still writing with Amy every chance I get). Overall, Napa was a productive place for me, but not home.