Chef Chris is the Founder and CEO of Culinary Bad Boy Productions and NY Catering Service, a New York based catering service. Influenced by his family’s heritage, which ranges from Argentinean, Italian and French, Chef Chris began his culinary career at The French Culinary Institute in 2009, where he became classically trained in French and Italian cuisine.
Chef Chris has cooked in several acclaimed NYC restaurants such as Celsius at Bryant Park, World Yacht, North River, to mention a few, and cooks for notables such as Puff Daddy, Chaka Khan, Jason Kidd and Orlando Magic, to name a few.
Chef Chris is also a brand ambassador for Gotham Steel and can be seen on QVC. He often appears on networks such as CNN, NBC, Dr. Oz, Fox & Friends, Martha Stewart Radio, the Daily Connection, Better TV and The Daily. His culinary competitions include Food Network Season 7 (Finalist), Chopped All Stars and MTV House of Food which he has also hosted. Chris has been featured in ZAGAT, Manhattan Magazine and among several other publications. Each year Chris participates in the Food Network’s Annual Food & Wine Festival in New York,
Atlantic City and Miami.
Chef Chris works with children and adults teaching them culinary skills needed to prepare some of his favorite recipes, which have been voted as “New York City’s Most Delicious” by his culinary peers. Chef Chris also lends his time to many charities such as encourage-kids.org, NY Food Bank, and Gods Love we deliver.
Currently, Chef Chris is filming a new food show and cooking weekly for some of the top names in sports and entertainment, as well as many families in the Tri-State area.
1. Chris, you have a VERY unique background, and how you became a chef is quite an amazing story- tell us about that.
I studied Public Relations and Marketing in college and worked a 9-5 for some years but my passion was always in food. I took the plunge in 2009 and went to the FRENCH CULINARY INSTITUTE where I participated in the intense program, 8 hours a day/5 days a week. I also completed internships at Michelin and James Beard awarded restaurants before growing to executive chef of several NYC restaurants. During these years, I also was lucky enough to be featured on Food Network several times, Dr OZ, CNN, Fox, today show and many others. This helped propel me into my own business, NY Catering Service, and in the last year I have also lost 45 pounds through a meal plan I created.
2. What motivated you to lose that weight, and how did you do it?
I actually thought I was happy until I lost weight. The inspiration were my clients. The fat chef is out and the chef who cares about his body and lifestyle is in and I realized that most after I began doing a few meal plans which turned into several meal plans. Healthier food was being made for clients, so why wouldn’t I also indulge in my own creations? I started working out and treated it almost like a kitchen in the sense that I developed a system. I used a trainer a few times just to understand what exercises might be most effective due to my previous injuries. I also came up with my own workout that was only about 30-40 minutes but intense circuit training with lots of stretching before and after. The weight all came off within 4.5 months. Then I realized my business sky rocketed due to my appearance. That was the end of the fat chef.
3. You went to the top culinary school in the world in rank, not exactly a place where ‘lighter cooking’ is considered a top priority. How did you get into healthy cooking?
French cuisine is a base of knowledge and can be applied to any type of food so I just spun it to my lifestyle. It is like being a scientist and than developing new theories around the knowledge obtained. Chefs are a dime a dozen but developing your own systems, menus, and making life changes was the system that made me most happy. Also, not using a pound of butter and gallons of cream.
4. The Food Network dubbed you the “Culinary Bad Boy”. How did that come about?
Eight years ago I was living in NYC and trying out with 1000 other people. I didn’t care one bit about even doing a TV show but Food Network wanted me so they got me and I was actually on 7 out of 11 episodes!! They called me the ‘Culinary Bad Boy’ and I owned it. Now I’m the bad boy with a heart of gold, a great wife, multiple homes, and have evolved but I will always love my roots on TV.
5. You have a unique background of Argentinian, Italian, and French influence in your family. How do you feel your family’s heritage & background has influenced your passion for cooking?
Food is love, family, and a huge part of my life for better or worse. Growing up, my uncle was an amazing Argentinian cook with the real deal recipes. I was captivated every time he did anything and I retained everything. My dad, with his Italian roots, also taught me some great dishes but more importantly taught me heritage and what food means to his extended family. Neither of my parents weren’t great cooks but I remember the first time, at like 8, when I told my mom I wanted to cook. It was an omelette and I got it all over the floor. My mom actually inspired me the most to go to cooking school and pursue my passion.
6. Favorite type of cuisine to cook?
I don’t have a favorite type but love to shop at farms, go fishing for fish and shop in general, utilizing new products and understanding how they can be paired and infused making culinary magic one ingredient at a time.
7. As the founder of the NY Catering Service, you also host private dinner parties and cater events. What are your favorite meals to make for a health-conscious crowd?
A lot of my clients are health conscious but I think anything can be made without using too much fat and still taste just as delicious so I think the most important thing is the trust I develop with the clients and than I can make them feel good, mind, body, and soul,without sacrificing quality.
8. Favorite guilty pleasure to make and eat?
I am a pizza addict and if it was up to me I could probably eat pizza or have some ice cream daily but I don’t obviously. Halo top has saved my life with ice cream as I can have a pint a day. In terms of making, I would say I’m a sensitive person so I make food based on my mood.
9. Any “superfood” ingredients to always have on hand in your pantry?
Not really one specific
10. One of the biggest myths about cooking?
I don’t really have any myths because I think the chef is the myth-buster so facts are facts. At first, it is hard to cook, to cut stuff, to make things taste great, to salt properly but I think with anything, repetition and knowledge is key. Start slow, learn, and than HAVE FUN!