What is your best food memory?

First date with my wife cooking Osso Bucco.

What is your favorite season for cooking with local ingredients? Most challenging?

Spring by far is my favorite. Winter poses it's challenges.

How would you define your culinary style?

Rustic, practical, innovative and trend-setting.

Where will your next vacation be? (Real or imagined)

Scottsdale, Arizona.

Who or what influenced your culinary style the most?

My family immigrated from Ukraine when I was four so I grew up with lots of food focus from my mother. In post revolutionary USSR we had very little in the way of gastronomic delights available to us. Rustic and bold would be two good adjectives to specifically describe defining aspects of my culinary style as a result of her influence.

Do you have a signature dish?

Warm Napa cabbage salad, bacon blue cheese vinaigrette.

Who are your culinary idols?

Thomas Keller, Charlie Trotter, and Alice Waters. The most important factor in my choosing those chefs in particular is that they really are culinary deities in the pantheon of gastronomy.

Thomas Keller and his accomplishments at the French Laundry, Per Se, Bouchon and the rest have positively impacted our industry immeasurably.

The same could be said about Alice Waters and her contributions to California cuisine.

Charlie Trotter was a student at the California Culinary Academy where I was an instructor. He was a multiple Michelin star winning chef and a pioneer that was lost in an untimely death four years ago; I found him to be inspirational.

What is your go-to drink when you are out on the town?


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