the come up


“My Life has always been a love story about food and cooking.”

My passion for food began early on, and roots from a childhood spent cooking alongside—and eating with—my Pops. In fact, as far back as my memory goes, food has been the most exciting thing in my life. As a child, I would wake up at midnight and sneak out of my bedroom so I could greet my Pops as he came home from work. At that time, he was the Executive Chef/Owner of an American Bistro in Lake George, NY (The Covered Bridge Inn). He would bring home tasty little morsels for us to share like ribeye, lobster, and pheasant—ah, the 80’s. Our midnight snacks together are some of my earliest and fondest food memories, and still hold tradition to this day.

At age thirteen, I began working at my folks' restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Bud & Eb’s). It was an American Bar & Grill known for great sandwiches and beer. Being from New York, this was the first time that my father and I explored the southern bounty, and we quickly fell in love with all of its rich flavors and heritage. By the time I was seventeen, I was head cook, and our dinner menu had a funky southern spread spanning cuisine from the Carolinas all the way down to Texas, with a big pit-stop in New Orleans. We were rockin' out Crawfish Étouffée, Barbecued Pork, Red Beans & Rice, Cuban Sandwiches, Smoked Andouille Plates, Fried Fish, Tortilla Soup, Cajun Crab Cakes, Pop's Burgers, Mommy's Apple Crisp and so much more. The only frills were in the toothpicks. It was down-home cooking; true grit American food.

Check out some of my dishes at Preux & Proper...

“Now, as i look back, i see that these types of food memories are what inspire my cuisine. more often than not, it’s the dishes i grew up learning to cook alongside my father at our family’s neighborhood bar and grill in chapel hill that I’m most proud of.”

My passion for food began early on, and roots from a childhood spent cooking alongside—and eating with—my Pops. In fact, as far back as my memory goes, food has been the most exciting thing in my life. As a child, I would wake up at midnight and sneak out of my bedroom so I could greet my Pops as he came home from work. At that time, he was the Executive Chef/Owner of an American Bistro in Lake George, NY (The Covered Bridge Inn). He would bring home tasty little morsels for us to share like ribeye, lobster, and pheasant—ah, the 80’s. Our midnight snacks together are some of my earliest and fondest food memories, and still hold tradition to this day.

At age thirteen, I began working at my folks' restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Bud & Eb’s). It was an American Bar & Grill known for great sandwiches and beer. Being from New York, this was the first time that my father and I explored the southern bounty, and we quickly fell in love with all of its rich flavors and heritage. By the time I was seventeen, I was head cook, and our dinner menu had a funky southern spread spanning cuisine from the Carolinas all the way down to Texas, with a big pit-stop in New Orleans. We were rockin' out Crawfish Étouffée, Barbecued Pork, Red Beans & Rice, Cuban Sandwiches, Smoked Andouille Plates, Fried Fish, Tortilla Soup, Cajun Crab Cakes, Pop's Burgers, Mommy's Apple Crisp and so much more. The only frills were in the toothpicks. It was down-home cooking; True grit American food.

oyster po boy.jpg

After high school, I attended college at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY—my first day being September 9, 2001—and graduated on January 21, 2005, receiving an A.O.S. in Culinary Arts and a B.P.S. in Hospitality Management. Upon graduation, I was ready for something big, and I was hungry to expand my knowledge of American cuisine, so I embarked upon an eighteen month culinary expedi- tion throughout the United States. From an impulsive series of one-way plane, train and bus tickets, I visited over twenty-five cities, picked up work in dozens of establishments, met hundreds of people, and tasted an immeasurable amount of American culture. One of my most impressionable experiences occurred during a two week camping trip throughout Bourbon country with my Pops; we stopped at a joint called Rick's White Light Diner in Frankfort, Ketucky. Rick was such an incredible man. He was a fellow CIA grad, and he spent his entire afternoon feeding us and sharing his personal life stories. I needed to run into a down-to-earth chef like Rick. In many ways, he inspired me to take pride in the comforting cuisine that I grew up learning how to cook. I still crave his famous crawfish pie. Thanks Rick.

My last one-way ticket was for Boston, where the restaurant scene captured my heart. It took me several years to obtain my own professional kitchen, and the non-conventional path I took toward pursuing my dreams certainly has been humbling. As a chef, the decisions I’ve made in life and the experiences to follow have shaped my cuisine into what it is today. My exposure to America’s vast repertoire of regional preparations and specialties constantly influences my cooking. I deeply value the power of food. I respect the impact that our food choices have on our lives, the earth, and the lives of what we chose to eat. Respecting food and life, and how one cannot exist without the other is a tenet I highly honor, and it's what keeps me inspired to always cook with love, care and integrity.

“WITHOUT HEART, MY FOOD WOULD LACK FLAVOR AND SOUL. I OWE MY HEART TO MY WONDERFUL MOTHER DEBBY, WHO TAUGHT ME THE TRUE MEANING OF LOVE AND COMPASSION.”