Some of the Greatest Chefs in the World are found in Orange County, California.

What food is your guilty pleasure? 
My stomach thinks I am Mexican, so my guilty pleasure must be a taco.
Best cooking tip for a novice? 
Don’t be afraid to season your food.

What’s your favorite type of music to listen to when cooking?  
I love all genres of music. It depends on the mood in the kitchen, but right now it’s the Dirty Heads.
If you could cook for anyone who would it be?
I love cooking for family and friends but in my 24 years in a professional kitchen, I have been lucky to cook for many celebrities.  My favorites have been Mikhail Gorbachev, Paul McCartney and the Jackson 5.

What’s the most challenging part of being a chef?   
A chef has many hats, but I like the quote, “A Chef must think like a scientist, organize like an accountant, inspire & motivate like a warrior, plate like an artist and cook like a grandmother.”  If I get the last one right, it’s all good!

Just for fun, what is your favorite color? 
My favorite color is green.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

What is your first food memory? 
Enjoying homemade pizza at my Grandma Rossi’s house.

Did you grow up in a cooking family? 
I did! We are a big, happy food-loving Italian family. My Grandma Rossi is 94 years old; my dad is the oldest of 6 kids, and there are 58 grandchildren on my father’s side (grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren).

Who has influenced your cooking the most? 
Growing up in my family shaped my passion for great food. My mother and grandmother are great teachers but my travels and work experience with many great chefs has fine-tuned my cooking style.

Why did you become a chef? 
I am passionate about food!  I enjoy learning and I love the fast pace of the kitchen.  And most importantly, I love the team aspect of the kitchen.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 
From a young boy, I wanted to play professional baseball. Growing up in Orange County, I had a lot of friends that made it to the Major Leagues, but my path was different.

If I weren’t a chef, I’d be: 
That’s a tough question. I have been a Chef half of my life now and it’s in my blood. But I enjoy the Stock Market so maybe something to do with investments.

Who are your favorite chefs? 
I admire a lot of chefs for many different reasons.  I look up to chefs like Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller and Suzanne Goin for their experience and wisdom. But there are so many chefs in the world right now that are cooking amazing food.  I like to keep an eye on chefs like Corey Lee of Benu in San Francisco, Timothy Hollingsworth of Otium in L.A., Jeremy Fox of Rustic Canyon in Santa Monica and Gavin Kayson of Spoon & Stable in Minnesota.

Which seasonings don’t you respect? 
I am not a big fan of white pepper.

Which spices are underrated? 
I love smoked paprika and fennel pollen.

Are there any culinary trends you like right now? 
I am a huge fan of consistency and proper execution and I love our Rational Combi Oven. 

Restaurant:  The RANCH Restaurant & Saloon  |  Restaurant Website