Growing up, we lived on 10 acres land on which we raised chickens, had a large vegetable garden and a small orchard. We grew our own food, canned food for the winter, and created meals from things grown from the garden. My dad and I also enjoyed hunting and fishing together. One of my earliest memoires in the kitchen is of me with one of my mom’s old cookbooks, attempting to prepare Hassenpfeffer, a German rabbit stew, with a rabbit I hunted when I was 14. Food was always a major factor in my life. My parents cooked all the time, we made cookies together around the holidays and we always sat down and ate meals as a whole family. My grandmother also cooked quite a bit and she owned a small catering company with one of her best friends. She would bring home leftover Italian wedding soup, which was one of her specialties. The food was always fantastic. Growing up food meant happiness. These are the memoires I have whenever I eat a meal today.
|Frank and his dad, Frank Sr., after a successful day of fishing!|
Throughout my late teens and early 20s, I imagined what it was like to work as a line cook in a high end restaurant but because I had no experience and no culinary degree, the only way to get my foot in the door was to start out as a dishwasher. I wasn’t really interested in taking what seemed like the long, slow rode to being a chef. So instead, I tried every other possible career path available to me at the time: document courier, arborist, exterior/interior painter, among other things. Painting houses became a serious interest and a business at one point. I apprenticed under a master painter and he taught me about the importance of technique and detail. I enjoyed the craft so much, as it became more than just painting and making a buck. I realized later that what I really enjoyed was the art of technique.
|Frank’s view from a tree as an arborist|
Cooking was still a part of my life and I was constantly trying my hand at creating delicious and healthy meals for friends at the time. It wasn’t until I was in a relationship with one person in particular who really dialed in on the fact that I liked cooking and that I was pretty good at it. She saw that it could be a potential career for me. After some serious thought, I decided to enroll in culinary school. It seemed like a complete 180 in my career path but, when I look back on it, it was obviously the right direction.
|Frank at home, before culinary school, preparing a meal for friends and family|
I graduated from L’Academie de Cuisine in Maryland in 2000 and worked my way around the culinary world in the DC area as a line cook, catering chef, culinary instructor, and as a private chef. I learned that I really enjoyed cooking for others and teaching others how to cook. The inspiration for my food has always been that feeling of friends, family, and love. However, technique is what drives me to create the best dishes I can.
|Frank receiving his culinary degree from L’Academie de Cuisine|
|Frank teaching knife skills classes at Sur La Table|
In 2014, I opened my first restaurant and I applied all the rules and life skills I learned throughout my many careers. I hone my craft everyday by teaching my staff the importance of consistency and the art of culinary technique. The reason I get total enjoyment out of the career path I’ve chosen, or maybe was chosen for me, is because I love feeding and nurturing people and most of all love seeing smiling faces. Feeding people nourishes my soul.
|Frank’s Pizza Artwork|
This is Week 9 of Artists Tell Their Stories. Thank you for reading and sharing Frank’s story today. To connect with Frank and have some of his scrumptious pizza, please visit the following links: