Prior to Thursday’s Cooking Channel episode of Chuck’s Eat the Street, titled “The Last Little Italy,” this Examiner had the pleasure of speaking with Chuck via phone.
Where are you calling me from?
Just arrived in Toronto for three days then on to Prince Edward Island to fish for mussels and oysters. The experience is a great opportunity to meet new people and find fresh suppliers for my restaurants. I recently returned from foraging for mushrooms, a wonderful experience, but with 3000 kinds of mushrooms; I had only been concentrating on three. Now my horizons have been opened to different kinds and ways to use them. I am always looking for different foods and in my travels, I have discovered a whole world of flavors.
How has the Cooking Channel impacted your life?
It has been such a positive force in my life, with networking and meeting great chefs. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity it has given me. I am learning something new every day.
You beat Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America, do you have your sights set on another Iron Chef?
What an awesome question! It was an honor just to compete; never mind, winning. My death wish would be to compete against Morimoto.
Your fans love your tattoos; do you have a favorite tattoo artist?
My first tattoo artist was named Saswan and is a favorite. I have received many tattoos in my travels. Recently, Alicia has been a favorite of mine. She is located in Newfoundland, which is also a favorite place of mine. She recently did some minuscule tattoos of a baby seal, cod, sardines in a can, whisk, fork, butter knife and other items dear to me.
How did your visit to Little Italy impact you?
What I loved most about Little Italy in the Bronx, N.Y. was the Old World feelings with a respect for family and food. Little markets with butchers, bakers and fish mongers that still practice their craft. I do not shop in supermarkets; I prefer the farmers and butchers; I have such a respect for them.
What did you enjoy most during your visit?
Making lamb sausages with Luca and his aunt in their kitchen; using great meats and seasonings. Making mozzarella became a Zen-like experience with each batch becoming new, this experience was amazing. Like a religious experience that I got to take part of; the temperature of the water, the salt and just the end result, like an artist's canvas. Hearing their stories of old traditions that they keep going right in the middle of the biggest city in the world. I am eternally grateful for every single experience I receive in the places I visit. I bring away many new flavors and learn something different each time.
If you liked what you read, please tune in to Thursday night’s Cooking Channel episode and see what Chuck found on Arthur Avenue, in the Little Italy section of the Bronx. Please don’t forget to click on the “Subscribe” button above to keep up with Chuck and his expeditions and follow this Examiner.