James Beard House Dinner | American Comfort Food Redefined

My first James Beard House dinner where I actually contributed to the card went down on April 23rd 2015. I threw together a dope team of chefs to cook with me—I love community, and I'd be bullshittin' if I didn't admit that having these greats next to me really took the pressure off.  The theme for the menu was inspired by my work with The Future of Junk Food, and the JBH deemed our offerings as an evening of "American Comfort Food Redefined."  

The crew was mad tight and included Eric Gabrynowicz & Stephen Mancini of Restaurant North (Armonk, NY), Michael Scelfo of Alden & Harlow (Cambridge, MA), Derek Wagner or Nick's on Broadway (Providence, RI) and Brian Mercury of Harvest (Cambridge, MA). Two of my best friends in the whole wide world prepped with me and held me down at the event. They truly made our two hors d'oeuvres and our entree course fucking sing! Biggest thanks in the world goes out to my homie Sammy Jackson of KO Pies (East Boston and South Boston, MA) and my Cuzzy Jeffrey Laboda of Caseus (New Haven, CT). Needless to say, the food was dope. 

Photos by Tara Morris.

Revelry for Charity | 12 Part Dining Series

A small group of friends and I (in Boston) put together a thoughtful and indulgent dining series that was a game changer for all of us. Revelry for Charity was originally conceptualized by my homie Stephen Torres of Imbibe & Inspire. As we hosted this twelve-part dining series, we paired twenty-four celebrated American chefs together over the coarse of twelve months.

I’m still inspired by these dinners to this day, and will always be thankful for my role in this series.

I learned a LOT, not just about cooking. As the back-of-house curator, I had the opportunity to expand my national network while improving skills in fields like communication, planning, night-of orchestration, event promoting and financial projections. It was also an eye opener for me with regards to the power of hospitality. We brought people together and made them feel really good, which made us feel really good, and we also took their ticket sale money and donated it to some really inspiring charities. It was really cool. Revelry for Charity will always have a special spot in my heart. Much love and respect to all that were involved. Especially Patrick Maguire, Mark Lutz, Steven Hacker, Kevin Mabry, Daren Palacios & Pickle. 

Check out this epic slideshow; simply click on the image to begin scrolling. It's an onslaught of killer photos that span the entire series, all taken by the incredible Tara Morris.

"Bearding It"

At the ripe age of 30, I finally got my cherry popped at the James Beard House! Much love and appreciation goes to my big homie chef Michael Scelfo (Alden & Harlow, Cambridge Ma). He was the chef of the evening and I was merely a set of hands tagging along to help in any way possible. 

Believe me when I tell you that this man is my big homie. He's been a cross between a mentor and a brother to me ever since we met. It was an honor and a pleasure to be a part of his team for the evening, and I had a blast working alongside his super talented crew. His GM Jen Fields and Sous Chef David Tollerud really held it down, as well as everyone else. 

Afterward, we swung by my homie Richard Kuo's place, Pearl & Ash. After a sick tour of their insane wine stash, Richard took it upon himself to straight up fucking slaughter us with almost every menu item. It was an incredible feast. By the end of it, Michael was ready for bed. As for me, well, I had to catch a Greyhound back to Boston at 4:30 am so I ended up closing down a nearby dive bar.  



The fourth Mick Dundee Challenge—a savory Australian meat pie throw down—took place on April 27th in the shipyard of East Boston. It was a grey, chilly, somewhat shitty day. Except it wasn't, because mass quantities of great people, pies and booze were present! There were 13 chef competitors at this event. Big Sammy Jackson (KO Pies) was the former champ. By the end of the day, there was a new champ. Well, sort of. Chin Kuo (Saus) won 1st place, making him the only 2 time champ in the series! I came in second place and I ain't mad.

My pie was damn good if I do say so myself, but Chin's was just that much better. For the record, I did a sous vide Jamaican curried beef brisket filling with a cardamon & turmeric scented crust and smothered it in a lemongrass-ginger ketchup w/ shaved serrano chilis. (Now I'm drooling.) Chin did a pork and onions pie, which I regretfully didn't get a chance to try. My boy Daren Palacios came in third, which made me super proud. He doesn't have a professional chefs background, but he cooks with love, care and integrity, and it makes his food beaming with soul! Can't wait to try and get the belt back at MDC5 and hope to see y'all there.

Chefs Collaborative Trash Fish Dinner Boston

This years Boston based Chefs Collaborative Trash Fish Dinner was held (once again) at Michael Leviton's Area Four in Kendall Square, Cambridge. There was an insane amount of talented chefs on the card, and all I can keep on saying is how fortunate and inspired I feel to be working side by side with such talented ladies and gents.

I obvi gotta give a should out to the four main folks over at the Collaborative that put this thing together without a hitch, Alisha Fowler, Rob Booz, Melissa Kogut, and papa bear Michael Leviton. (His daughter helped for as long as she could, but it was a school night, so eventually Michael insisted she go home and get some rest for her big exam scheduled the following day. So cute!) Rob did an expert job of corralling all of the chefs. That guy has balls for sure.

The chefs involved hailed from the finest eateries in the area, including Barry Maiden (Hungry Mother), Cassie Piuma (Sarma), Carolyn Johnson & Katherine Hamilburg (80 Thoreau),  Jeff Pond (Area Four), Larry Lebowitz (Guckenheimer), William Kovel (Catalyst) and my two really good homies, Josh Lewin (Beacon Hill Bistro) and Katrina Jazzayeri. 

I actually had the pleasure of prepping my course out of Josh's Beacon Hill basement kitchen. It was totally radical maaan. His crew treated me with tons of love, and were super helpful, despite the fact that I took up prized real estate during their two busiest days of the week. Josh and I had a blast fabricating 150 pounds of fish together. (syke)

Much love to everybody at the Collaborative!

BCAE Beyond Beef

I had an absolute blast at this year's Beyond Beef event! My big homie Matthew Gaudet let me take up some room in his kitchen at West Bridge for my prep, which was super cool. His whole crew over there are on point, and hospitable as fuck. I even got to ride shotty in Matty's beamer and test out the seat warmers. Gangster! Tons of great folks participated in this event, including some of my favorite people in Boston, like Karen Akunowicz (Myers & Chang) , James DiSabatino (Roxy's) , Kevin O'donnel (The Salty Pig), Michael Leviton (Area Four) and Mr. Handsome himself, Michael Scelfo (Alden & Harlow) #bromance #mancrush