Chapter 1: The Family Table
As a child, I went to my grandparents’ homes on Sundays and shared big family meals with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. My father’s mother made homemade tamales (which would take forever!). My grandmother and aunts formed an assembly line with the masa, the husk, and finally, the pork filing. They were a well-oiled machine.
My mother’s family also crafted incredible food. Her father would hang long strings of homemade Italian sausage from the garage rafters to cure. On both sides of the family, meals were noisy and fun, with everyone laughing and telling stories and enjoying great food.
Chapter 2: Learning Construction
Though my love of food was always there, my job search took me into the construction trade. I dealt with many unknowns — the weather, my next job, the physical toll — but also appreciated the paycheck and the satisfaction of building tangible results.
One day, I asked my mom how to make Grandpa’s gravy (Italians call it gravy , while most people call it red sauce). A little of this and a little of that were all the instructions I got. But with a little experimentation, I created my own gravy.
And when it passed my wife’s taste-test, I was hooked. My wife and daughter were eager participants (and critics). For my daughter’s fifth birthday, I baked a flourless espresso cake with chocolate ganache (see the recipe ). It was delicious.
Or so I thought. My wife’s friend came over, had a piece, and was thrilled to take home the whole cake. Turns out that my daughter asked my wife, “Next year, can you make my cake?” They still razz me about knowing my audience.
Chapter 3: Constructed Cuisine
In addition to serving this tough crowd, I earned a certificate in the Personal Chef and Catering program at Kendall College. In 2010, I established Constructed Cuisine , a personal chef and catering service, as a nod to my construction career and my desire to build healthy meal plans for my clients.
In 2010, we moved to Milwaukee. I worked as a chef at a skilled nursing facility, where residents were meat-and-potato people who liked their food soft. I also worked at GE, where employees requested my vegetarian chili so much, it became a weekly staple (see the recipe). My vision and service reflect my promise to take different ingredients and create satisfying food for every client.
Now we’re back in the Chicago area, and I’m ready for the next chapter — the one with you.
Chapter 4: Cooking Your Favorite Meals
With Constructed Cuisine, you can come home to fresh, healthy meals. Avoid the chores of menu planning, grocery shopping, and prepping, cooking and clean-up. My goal is simple: To cook good food for you to enjoy.
I’d love to connect with you. Let’s cook up a better life together.