These four chefs will be showing off their skills and competing for bragging rights at the New York City Wine & Food Festival's La Sagra Slices event. But, since the event is sponsored by Ronzoni pasta and will launch the Bongiovi line of sauces, we got them to give a few pointers for home cooks on how they can improve the taste of their food.
Joey Campanaro, The Little Owl: Use quality ingredients —go to a specialty Italian food store and source really great olive oil from Tuscany, or Parmigiano-Reggiano from Emilia-Romagna. It will cost you a little more, but it makes all the difference in the end product.
Ryan Hardy, Charlie Bird:When putting food together, think of the whole package. Drinking great wine out of plastic cups, eating exquisite food of paper plates and trying to be intimate in a noisy warehouse all feel wrong! Put as much effort in the lighting, the music, the wine and the table as you do on the food, and you’ll enjoy your meal infinitely more.
The majority of home cooks need three upgrades when I walk into their kitchen: good salt, top-quality olive oil and better cookware. Next time, throw away the iodized, spend as much on a bottle of olive oil as you do on a bottle of wine, and splurge on cookware — it can last a lifetime.
Danny Ye, Harlow: Utilize a mortar and pestle to make salsas and sauces, and toast your dry seasonings/spices before using them.
Mike Cariglio, Nicoletta:Don't feel constrained to the recipe; they are just guidelines, so don't get stressed out if you are missing an ingredient. Just wing it; cook with love. You are cooking for your family - they will love whatever you make, and if not don't get down. Most dishes that are eaten in restaurants are on their third or fourth rendition before the guest eats it. Have fun; the more you cook the better you get.