Steve is known as a pioneer in the pairing of health and taste with his Mediterranean inspired, vibrantly flavored cuisine. His study of authentic cooking techniques around the world has led him to develop unique reinterpretations of ethnic dishes
He is the author of The Whole Foods Market Cookbook and is widely published as a contributor to Cooking Light, Natural Health, Fine Cooking, The LA Times Syndicate, Food & Wine and Self. He is also a syndicated columnist for The Chicago Tribune news service, where his weekly column, "Vegetarian Today," appears in hundreds of newspapers.
Steve has been a consultant to the retail industry in the area of menu research, new product development and natural food marketing for over a decade. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, he was awarded a fellowship and served as Chef Instructor. Steve is also currently a culinary instructor and teaches classes at many retail markets and cooking schools nationally.
Q: Name 5 foods you always keep in your refrigerator A: Sriracha sauce, eggs, some kind of cheese, Greek yogurt, some kind of potato, onions -- sorry, that's 6.
Q: If you could cook for anyone, who would it be for and what would you cook? A: I would love to cook for either Anthony Bourdain or my grandparents—two completely different directions, but those are the first to come to mind. Either way, I would prepare a global tasting of little dishes to reflect seasonal ethnic favorites. Almost like an American Dim Sum of sorts.
Q: What is your favorite all time Breakfast? A: Killer pancakes with fresh fruit, creamy custardy French Toast, or a deep dish frittata of some kind.
Q: What is your favorite kitchen tool? A: I love my Microplane and Santuko knives and couldn't live without them. I used to love my Asian mandoline, but after cutting myself a few weeks back—not so much anymore
Q: What does "Celebrating America's Love of Food" mean to you? A: I constantly feel that food is our common denominator, and I love being able to talk with anyone around the country about food, ingredients and authentic family recipes. We are clearly having a love affair with what we eat, and being able to celebrate this feeling is wonderful—no matter where you go in the world.
Q: What made you decide you wanted to cook professionally? A: I was brought up in the restaurant business. I always knew that things could be done better and more efficiently.
Q: Did your mom cook? If not, who was your mentor? A: My mom was my food muse. She and my dad had little restaurants my whole life in which I was literally brought up. I've written countless articles about her. We lost her two years ago at 88, and I think of her each day.
Q: What is a favorite family dish and why? A: My mom had a huge ceramic antique casserole dish that I now have. We called her favorite dish "Claire's Tub O' Noodles," and it had every vegetable and leftover in the frig along with some kind of pasta. She would bake this deep-dish creation with a bubbly cheese crust, and we would all fight over it!
Q: If you had to pick a song as the theme song for your cooking style, what would it be? A: I love new wave Flamenco music because it is full of passion and zeal. This is the kind of music I often cook to. I can tell you the artist is Jesse Cook, and I wish I could play guitar like him.
Q: What cook/chef do you admire the most? A: I appreciate the simplicity of Mediterranean cooking, and I guess if I had to pick a modern mainstream cook it would be Mario Batali because of his direct approach and reliance on great quality ingredients.