Show 161, February 27, 2016: Chef Bruno Amato, Paisano’s Italian Restaurant, Pechanga Resort & Casino

Andrew Gruel of Slapfish and Bruno Amato of Paisanos Italian Restaurant at PechangaBruno Amato is the new head chef of the popular Paisano’s Italian Restaurant at Pechanga Resort & Casino. A native of the Calabria region of Italy, Chef Amato injects his innate knowledge of traditional Italian fare and flavors to make Paisano’s dishes approachable, contemporary, and authentic to his home country.

Bruno Amato grew up in the 7,000-person town of Nicotera in Calabria, Italy. A popular fishing village, Bruno enjoyed casting ropes and hooks from rocks into the ocean to catch seafood. During his childhood, his mother worked in a neighborhood restaurant kitchen. After school and on weekends, Bruno went to the restaurant to help her. This would be his first taste of culinary life, and he would later develop an affinity for cooking fish. From the dishwashing station, he watched the chefs work frenetically creating their specialties. He continued to assist his mom and when he was 14, decided culinary was the direction he would take his career.

After high school, he enrolled in culinary school, free for all interested students in Italy. Following graduation, he moved to Guestalla, Italy to become a line cook. His subsequent gastronomic tour of Italy lasted 20 years and took him to Ostia, Milan, Rome and other well-known locales, working at some of the top restaurants and resorts in the country.

“I love cooking for people because it gives me the chance to improve myself every day,” said Amato. “When the food goes to each table, I watch the customers’ faces. To see their reactions makes me happy.”

Chef Bruno joins us.

Show 32, June 22, 2013: On the Road with Chef Jet and Producer Andy

Chef Jet has really rolled up the airline miles this works. Looks like 3,000 plus.

Chef jet Tila and Alton BrownHe was a key part of the annual college and university dining conference at UMass in Amherst, Massachusetts this week. This brings together the management teams and chefs from prominent universities across the country to discuss trends. Harvard and Cornell University were there for starters. Jet has been a conference participant for a long time.

University students are the restaurant diners of tomorrow and are increasing in sophistication about food and cooking. Colleges and Universities serve from 1,000 to 20,000 or more meals a day when school is in session. Pizza and burgers on the menu don’t cut it anymore!

Jet brought Food Network’s Chef Robert Irvine to the gathering. He was part of a “Chopped”-style competition there that Jet was the host for. It was 16 prominent chefs in four rounds of competition.

When Jet got back to Los Angeles he was a solo celebrity chef judge for an episode of a smart, new Food Network competition series hosted by Alton Brown that is currently in production. More to come on this…

A Taste of Greece in IrvineProducer Andy reported on “A Taste of Greece” which is this weekend. It’s the 35th Annual Greek Festival produced by St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church on Alton Parkway in Irvine. It’s Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday. Over 11,000 guests are expected this year. Info phone is : 949.733.3102

Chef Cathy Palvos of the popular Lucca (Italian-fare) in Irvine is very involved in the Festival.

It’s three days of delicious Greek food, Greek wine and beer, cooking demonstrations, Greek folk dancing lesions, games, and carnival rides. You’ll have a hard time finding a better variety of exquisite Greek pastries baked by the church’s capable philanthropic group. Adult admission is a modest $3.