Describe an early food experience that has influenced the way you think about food and/or cooking.
Back in junior high, I used to watch Bobby Flay's first cooking show -- this was before he was on the Food Network and there weren't many cooking shows. I used to watch and try to recreate some of his dishes, but I didn't do the food shopping as a kid, so I had to improvise with what I found. I think that's why I feel so comfortable making up recipes with what I have on hand and what looks good in the store that week. I used to make pizzas and my favorite dish was penne alla vodka.
What's your least favorite food?
It's a three-way tie: cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo. I hate all white condiments.
What is the best thing you've made so far this year?
This is a hard one, but I think I would have to go with the carbonara I made a few months ago. Although I did make a pretty killer mushroom lasagna too...
Describe your most spectacular kitchen disaster.
I was trying to make the no-knead bread recipe from Sullivan Street Bakery that was published in the New York Times. I don't know what went wrong, but I left it under a towel to rise while I went out for a few hours, and when I came back it had risen so much that it was dripping off the counter into a big pile on the floor. I mean, it was EVERYWHERE.
What is your idea of comfort food?
Pasta. And cheese. I guess I'd have to go with spaghetti and meatballs with parmesan on top. Nothing's better than that. Although, maybe a nice Cacio e Pepe in Rome...
Apron or no apron?
Sometimes. I get made fun of when I wear my apron because it has a giant octopus on it.
What's your favorite food-related scene in a movie?
In Chocolat, when Julliette Binoche finds the mayor in her store, covered in chocolate.
If you could make a show-stopping dinner for one person, living or dead, who would it be?
I think I would have to go with Mario Batali because I think it would be a learning experience (plus a lot of fun). Although only if Joe Bastianich brings the wine.
You prefer to cook: a. alone, b. with others, c. it depends on your mood
When it comes to tidying up, you usually: a. clean as you cook, b. do all the dishes once you've finished cooking, c. leave the kitchen a shambles for your spouse/roommate/kids to clean.
I'm an ex-finance, nonprofit fundraiser by day and a (mostly) Italian cook and blogger by night. I love having friends over for dinner and my favorite evenings are when we spend them at home together cooking dinner and chatting. I'm an avid cooking show fan, and my favorite eating cities are New York, San Francisco, Paris, and Rome.