I was breast-fed. So my love affair with food started early.
My grandfather was a butcher who brought a box filled with meat to our apartment every week. By age two I was happily eating raw chopped steak. I had no idea it was called “tartare”, but to this day I consider it my “happy meal.”
Some people have vivid memories of their first romance. Me: I’ll never forget my first slice. Of pizza.
My upbringing was normal. Public school. Played sports. Johnny Carson, George Carlin and Paul Newman were my idols. But my top dog was the Galloping Gourmet, a guy who cooked on TV.
After studying business in college, I went into advertising, working for brands like Evian, Heineken and Absolut. Hey, a guy’s gotta drink.
By day I was president of a top global ad agency. By night I performed my stand up routine in all of NYC’s comedy clubs and earned a professional cooking degree from the Institute of Culinary Education with 600 hours of training, including an internship at the Food Network for Robin Leach.
The 2.5 million frequent flier miles I amassed from my international business adventures taught me a lot about the differences between cultures and their cuisines. My professional highlight was overeating at more than 2,600 restaurants around the globe with my partners and friends….
…the freshly baked empanadas in Buenos Aires, biltong with gin and tonic in the African bush, conch fritters in the Caribbean, roast chicken in Paris that brings tears to the eyes, hot off the pig porchetta served with crackling skin on freshly baked bread in Umbria, the joyful revelation of grilled hearts of palm in Brazil, sweet stone crabs in Miami, shredded roast duck with warm, handmade tortillas in Mexico and breathtaking bar-b-qued oysters in Northern California…and so on.
I produced and hosted over 50 snack-size cooking segments that have aired in TV markets across the country. I have made over 25 appearances on nationally syndicated radio shows, including as guest host of WOR’s Food Talk. I write regularly for the Huffington Post.
And I’m the personal chef to my kids, who named me Short Order Dad®.