[All photos courtesy of Nick Occhino] July 20th, 2017, is going to forever remain a pivotal moment in my life. It wasn't perfect, in retrospect it was quite amateur, but it was a shift. An internal inertia turned physical reality, right in front of my face, proving something true. I can do some really cool [...]


Looking for the Line. I thought it was fairly clever, when I first thought of it (especially compared to "a checkered past"...cause, pants). It rings true in ways I didn't realize until recent weeks. Though I can't fully remember the turning point, there was one, back in college, where I looked at a plate of [...]


Finding purpose has never been an easily hit target, at any point, for myself. Murky waters of doubt surrounding the source of my intentions tend to cause anxiety, and spur retreat. Am I doing this for a real, true, sincere and honest reason? Or is it selfish, rooted in a deep and tangled web of [...]


I struggled with a self-imposed question this week – is life risotto, or a pot of water? I’m stretching, a crazy diversion from the usual posts. Risotto makes a strong case, with those tough, hard grains, being slowly massaged into a creamy, indulgent, luxurious gift of sustenance. Created with the barest of ingredients, water and [...]


When cooking on a hot line, you become very aware of your size. The space it takes to make a 360 is smaller than you realize, but the distance from kitchen to dining room is always further. Taking as few steps as possible to achieve maximum efficiency is the goal, creating a small square in which [...]


Tomatoes are not in season. They're close, inching, crawling, scooting like a tiny worm towards the door of the cafe. Close enough I think I can smell their deep sweetness, feel the fresh bitten burst of juice. A pinnacle sign of musky, heat wave filled July's and Augusts. I relate to those tomatoes. Close to creative [...]


I was eight when I decided what I wanted to be as a grown up. Curled into my grandfathers recliner, watching an old Italian woman merry foreign flavors together, create music out of sizzles, pops, and slices. Background noises of my mother making dinner in the kitchen blended into a mural of a softer version [...]


I remember dew clinging to pastel green stalks of asparagus, and climbing through overgrown patches of field to keep up with mommom. I remember her thin hands holding onto an old, wooden handled paring knife, and the snap of a stalk being cut. Rustles of an apron holding a small harvest. I can hear her alto voice [...]


I want to want a lot of things. I want to feel the push for fine dining, for Michelin, for "greatness" in this field. I want to want the move, the one that would take me out of small town, into big city. The desire to work for a chef that will break me until [...]


Motivation will fail you. Passion will wain. Exhaustion sets in, insecurities gain traction, irrelevant comments take up space in your mind - circling, biting, gnawing at the marrow of your silly school age"passion". The handful of grandiose things that pushed me through culinary school, that got me through those all nighters and 12 hour labs [...]