HOME TOWN:Horseneck Beach, Westport, MA - Still where my heart is. Wherever I live, Westport will always be considered home.
FIRST INSPIRATIONAL FOOD MOMENT:My Grandmother (Alice Ponte Vavo) cooking cuisine from my Portuguese heritage – malasadas (fried, sugared, dough) and caldo verde (kale soup). FIRST INSPIRATIONAL RESTAURANT MOMENT:Dining at 16 years of age at La Fouquet’s of Paris with my well- traveled friend, neighbor and gourmand, Peter MacDougal. It opened my eyes to the pure pleasure of a well-executed dinner. At that very moment, I realized if I could make other people experience this feeling. I’m all in. On to Chefdom!
STUDIED:Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, N.Y.
WORKED:White’s on the Watuppa, Westport, MA, Le Coq au Vin, Tiverton, RI, Corinthian, Boston, MA, Maitre Jaques, Boston, MA, Bay Tower Room, Boston, MA, Executive Chef at Oceancliff Resort, Newport, RI, Chef/Owner of Mangrove Cafe/Diva martini bar, Naples, FL. Chef/Owner of River City Grill and Italia@River City, Punta Gorda, FL.
MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT:Dripping sauce on the pant leg of Henry Kissinger during table-side service class in the Escoffier Room at CIA. He was very polite, and I didn’t want to be a waiter anyway.
WORST KITCHEN NIGHTMARE: Preparing a prime rib wedding dinner for 125 people, and then being informed – one hour before show time - that the count had increased to 200. I only had frozen prime rib on hand!! I can’t tell you how I pulled it off.
CELEBRITIES COOKED FOR:Henry Kissenger, Larry Bird, Senator Fred Thompson, Anthony Quinn, Tony Curtis, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Rolly Fingers, Dan Dierdof, Jerry Remy, Lorna Luft, Vicki Lawrence, Joe Torre, Lou Pinella, Joe Maddon, and Don Zimmer.