I've always been known for bold flavors and rustic cooking, but there is another side to me. As you evolve as a cook, you understand life and how serious it is. There comes a point where there's got to be a better balance.
Cleanliness is very important. If you let kids make a total mess in the kitchen and then leave, you're not really teaching them anything.
If you think big, then it's going to be big.
I love fresh citrus and always keep lemons, limes, and oranges on hand; they come in handy for spritzing up quickly grilled meats, seafoods, and vegetables, especially when followed up by a quick drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
The cool thing is that now that people have made this evolution where cooking is cool, people are doing it on weekends, they're doing their own challenges. It's back to cooking. And it's real cooking.
If you don't follow your dream, who will?
I can't tell you enough about cinnamon. Cinnamon is an awesome spice to use and it goes great with something like apples in the morning or in a mixture of fruit or in your oatmeal or even in your cereal.
You go to a restaurant in the States and kids have these game boards at the table. You don't see that in Italy or Spain. It's not because they can't afford to buy them, it's because that's not what eating together as a family is about.
My inspiration was my mom. She's a great cook, and she still cooks, and we still banter back and forth about cooking. Growing up in a mostly Portuguese community, food was important and the family table was extremely important. At a very young age I understood that.
Kids are now eating things like edamame and sushi. I didn't know what shiitake mushrooms were when I was 10 - most kids today do.
My philosophy from day one is that I can sleep better at night if I can improve an individual's knowledge about food and wine, and do it on a daily basis.
I grew up in Fall River, Massachusetts. My background was modest, and I worked at a Portuguese bakery in town.
Wrap fish fillets, sliced veggies, and other quick-cooking items inside foil packets with bundles of fresh herbs and throw them directly on the grill; the steam will release the herb's perfume and flavor anything contained inside the pouch.
Home base is the support system where we have a culinary team, my own writers because of the shows and the books and stuff, we have a culinary team of about six people. Marketing, public relations, accounting and all that sort of stuff.
Many of my staff have been with me for over 20 years. I have a great team, and I make sure they feel respected and appreciated.
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