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 133, August 1, 2015: Chef Carla Hall

Carla HallABC’s “The Chew’s” Chef Carla Hall is, fortunately, no stranger to the show. She is a Daytime Emmy Award-winning chef and best-selling cookbook author.

Hall is a true believer that, “If you’re not in a good mood. The only thing you should make is a reservation.”

Last Saturday (July 25th.) Chef Carla was the honoree at the James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne benefit in The Hamptons. In New York this is always the annual culinary highlight of the Summer. It’s held on the grounds of the Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack. In addition to free-flowing Champagne over 40 celebrated chefs (including Chefs Tom Fraker and Marco Zapien from Melissa’s) served their own delectable creations.

A silent auction at Chefs & Champagne consisting of fine-dining experiences, wines and spirits, cookware, and culinary travel packages raised a record-breaking amount of over $75,000 to support the James Beard Foundation’s mission and educational programs, including culinary student scholarships and the organization’s annual food conference on sustainability, public health, and nutrition.

In June she was part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Presidential Delegation to the World Expo in Milan and the USA Pavilion. The Delegation toured the USA Pavilion which showcases American leadership on global food security and development issues, innovation, climate change and sustainability, and nutrition and health.