How you would prefer to be addressed? Joe, or Chef
Tell me a bit about the path that led you to Tribeca Rooftop. i.e. Where did you study? Where did you work previously? How did you learn of the position here and why did you think it was the right move for you? I started my culinary career at age 14 washing dishes and working the line at restaurants in Annapolis, MD and a hotel in Washington, DC. By age 16, I knew cooking and culinary school were in my future. It was during my time studying at the Culinary Institute and working off-premise events that I developed an interest in banquet events.
After graduation, I was fortunate enough to work at Glorious Foods, a high-end event and catering company where I assisted at an event for Princess Diana and Prince Charles and cooked for celebrities (including a famous party for Malcolm Forbes where guests arrived in hot-air balloons), Presidents, the Olympics and US Open. We did parties all through the tri-state area from the Hamptons to Bedminster, NJ. And I developed relationships along the way—as the chef for the bar-mitzvah, sweet 16 and wedding of a known cosmetics heiress. It was fast, furious and lots of fun but most importantly, it was a wonderful education as I I learned how to orchestrate events from the inside out.
With the experience I gathered at GF, I started my own off-premises event company. After 10-years, I was reunited with Glorious Food as they purchased my company.
I learned about the opportunity at Tribeca Rooftop through a friend who just happened to know owner Billy Reilly. Tribeca Rooftop had just started their second downtown venue, Tribeca 360° and were looking for an Executive Chef. For the past 9 years, I’ve had the pleasure of creating amazing celebrations in one of NYC’s most beautiful venues.
What does an average day of work look like for you? (Or if there’s no such thing as an average day, that’s okay too!) On an event day, my team and I work a minimum of 12 hours. As both locations are open 7-days a week, it’s likely that we are putting the finishing touches on one event, while we starting to prep for the next day’s event.
What is your personal philosophy (or specialty) when it comes to cooking, and how does working with Tribeca Rooftop enable you to express that? I pride myself on preparing food for hundreds of people that taste as good as the dish your favorite chef or restaurant makes. I’m grateful to my teams at Tribeca Rooftop and Tribeca 360° for helping to make that happen. Everyone here has a passion for cooking and a willingness to do whatever it takes to prepare the best product possible.
How do you come up with new ideas for dishes (experimentation, collaboration, trends, etc.)? My favorite mode of inspiration is competitive shopping- aka going out to eat! I like to put my own twist on what I see and what I taste. Instagram & Pinterest are also great jumping off points when it comes to classic hors d’eoruve or main course plating.
What are some new food trends you see for 2020?
- Plant-based foods are the big trend for 2020. There are so many clean, healthy plant-based offerings that people can feel good about eating, especially when garnished with condiments like vegan mayonnaise, herbs and fresh greens.
- Local foods and farm to table have been strong for the past few years and I think this will carry on beyond 2020.
- One of my favorite trends that is making a huge comeback are charcuterie boards. A fun twist of this classic is a “seacuterie”; made with fresh food from the sea like octopus and salmon lox.
What are some common catering requests you hear from clients when working in corporate events?
For corporate clients having a breakfast or lunch with us, they are requesting clean, light, healthy, “feel good” food like yogurt made with almond or cashew mylk instead of dairy. Corporate clients also prefer vibrant and colorful salads with lots of texture. Creative fish dishes along with grass-fed meats are our most requested entrees.
What tips/advice can you share to make planning corporate events a positive experience for everyone?
My advice for a positive and successful event would be to relax, enjoy your party and let us do all the work for you. Over the past 30-years, we’ve perfected the art of planning and executing flawless celebrations