It was love at first bite – at Scarpetta in Beverly Hills – when once upon a time, we bit into the ever-so-perfect spaghetti now made famous by chef and restauranteur Scott Conant. That perfect toothsome bite of pasta, dressed in a silken sauce with just enough wiggle room to score the residual tomato and basil nestled within each blissful twirl of the fork. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and with countless successful ventures under his belt (cough – three Scarpettas; D.O.C.G. Enoteca; Culinary Suite in SoHo; and his Mediterranean rustic resto, Corsair – cough), Chef Conant maybe kinda sorta on to something. Thanks for contributing to The Tig, Chef – and for easily having some of our favorite answers to date. Sprezzatura for the win!
- What’s the staff meal your kitchen gets most excited about?
At every restaurant I have ever had, the most excited the team has been is when we have someone cooking the food they grew up with. Whatever the background, there is always such pride and love when someone cooks from their heart…you can taste it.
- What is the one knife you can’t live without?
I love a perfect paring knife…there’s something about the way it can tackle almost any job.
- What’s your naughty food indulgence?
Skippy reduced fat, extra chunky peanut butter…I can’t help it. It’s the most addictive thing in the world for me.
- What’s your mini bar go to?
Cashews and water. Two of my life necessities.
- If you could stage at any restaurant in your city, where would it be and why?
Either Masa or Le Bernardin. They are both about precision and excellence. I love that.
- After a long day at work you go home and…?
I’ll play with my daughters for a while or sit in a dark room…depends on the day.
- If you weren’t working in a kitchen, what would you be doing?
I think I would have made my way into marketing or something…or be a plumber.
- Drink of choice?
Casa Dragones tequila, Macallan 25, Champagne or Campari. Pretty much in that order.
- One cookbook you can’t live without/most referenced?
Le Ricette Regionale Italiane from Anna Gossetti della Salda.
- What’s the most overrated ingredient?
Durian…ugh, I can’t with that stuff!
- Describe your cooking in one word:
There is a word in Italian: Sprezzatura. It translates to “the art of making the elegant look easy,” a certain nonchalance so to speak. I like to think that’s what I do…Sprezzatura.
Images via: Chideo, Instagram