Chris Cosentino graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, and went on to build his resumé at Red Sage in Washington, D.C., and at Rubicon, Chez Panisse, and Redwood Park in the San Francisco Bay Area. Chris took his first executive chef position at Incanto restaurant in 2002, creating inspired and innovative interpretations of rustic Italian fare. Chris is also the co-founder of Boccalone, an artisanal salumeria, and has gained international acclaim as a leading expert and proponent of offal cookery. Recently, Chris became a partner in Pigg restaurant (part of Umamicatessen) in Los Angeles, which specializes in pork.
Growing up in Rhode Island, Chris spent his time clamming, commercial fishing and cranking the pasta machine in his great-grandmother's kitchen. He was raised on a cuisine particular to parts of New England where Atlantic seafood, Yankee fare and classic Italian cooking fuse into a colorful style of cooking and eating. Creating good food was a family tradition. Chris's maternal ancestors, the Eastons, were the founders of Newport's beloved Easton's Sausage Company. Both his English and Italian heritage influence the food Chris makes today at home, in his restaurants and in his handcrafted salume.
Q: What is your food philosophy?
A: I love to cook in an old-world, peasant-Italian style—just great-tasting food with simple ingredients.
Q: Why nose-to-tail cooking?
A: When an animal is slaughtered for food, I feel the best way to honor its life is to serve all of it. I also really love the flavor and textures of offal because they are complex and varied.
Q: What are three ingredients you always have on hand?
A: Extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Olivestri), salted liliput capers and vinegar.