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PopImpressKA Journal | Events, Charities, Art, Fashion, Movies

PopImpressKA Journal: Chris LaVecchia, Private Chef / Exclusive Interview

PopImpressKA Journal: Chris LaVecchia, Private Chef / Exclusive Interview

by Olga Papkovitch

November 08, 2018


Growing up, Chris LaVecchia always loved food. He would help his mom and/or grandmother prepare the food around the holidays or family get-togethers. Growing up in an Italian family, Sundays were all about the family getting together, and holidays as well. It was at a young age that Chris helped prepare food for his family, and started working with food. This went on for years, and was just a fun thing to do. One day while he was on a gap year of college, still trying to figure out what he wanted to do as a full time career, a brochure came in the mail for the Culinary Academy of Long Island. After looking into it, taking a tour of the school, and meeting the staff & faculty, Chris decided that this was his calling. Finally he knew what he wanted to do as a career, and put his talents to good use. He was introduced to food at a young age, but as he got older his passion for cooking & a huge interest in Culinary Arts drove him to enroll at CALI. They say things happen for a reason, and getting that brochure in the mail was definitely “meant to be”. The rest, as they say, is history. Since he was a teenager, Chris LaVecchia has worked in the Entertainment & Hospitality industries, but it was in 2005 that he graduated from the Culinary Academy of Long Island and became a professional Chef. Since graduating from CALI, now almost 14 years ago, Chef Chris LaVecchia has worked under some of the best Executive Chefs in New York, inside some of the best Restaurants, Catering Halls & Catering Companies. With over two decades in the Hospitality Industry, he is now bringing his experience & passion for cooking into people’s homes, as a Private Chef. Chef Chris LaVecchia specializes in small intimate dinner parties for 2 or more people. He customizes a 4 course menu based off of what his clients like to eat. Some of his dinners include Date Night dinners for 2, Birthday, Anniversaries, Bachelorette Parties, Engagement Parties, Rehearsal Dinners, and many more. Now you can enjoy fine dining, and five star service in the comfort of your own home. Chef Chris LaVecchia also provides wait staff as well for dinner parties of 6 or more people.

www.ChefChrisLaVecchia.com

Contacts:

P: 516-306-5411 
F: 516-506-5177 
E: ChefChrisLaVecchia@gmail.com

 

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

PopImpressKA Journal: Growing up in an Italian family and cooking with your mother and grandmother what is the best lesson you have learned from them as a human being and as a professional?
    Chris LaVecchia, Private Chef: COOKING WITH MY FAMILY AND GROWING UP WITH A LARGE FAMILY, THE HOLIDAYS (AND SUNDAY DINNERS) WERE ALL ABOUT FAMILY AND GETTING TOGETHER. GROWING UP I WOULD ALWAYS LOOK FORWARD TO THE HOLIDAYS BECAUSE I WOULD GET TO SEE ALL OF MY FAMILY. NOW THAT I AM GROWN AND HAVE MY OWN HOME, I LOVE HOSTING DINNERS AT MY OWN HOME AND NOW HAVING MY FAMILY OVER. 
 
PJ: What is your future plans are? What are your future projects?
    Chris LaVecchia, Private Chef: MY FUTURE PLAN IS TO POSSIBLY HAVE MY OWN RESTAURANT AND/OR CATERING HALL SOME DAY.
 
PJ: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned working in entertainment and hospitality industry prior to your graduation at the Culinary Academy of Long Island?
    Chris LaVecchia, Private Chef: THE MOST VALUABLE LESSON THAT I HAVE LEARNED FROM WORKING IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY IS TO ALWAYS STAY HUMBLE, NO MATTER HOW FAR YOU COME AND TO ALWAYS BE ON YOUR A-GAME. TO NEVER FORGET WHERE YOU CAME FROM. IN AN INDUSTRY WHERE IT CAN BE HARD TO HAVE LONGEVITY, IN AN INDUSTRY FULL OF EGOS OR D-BAGS (FOR A LACK OF A BETTER TERM) YOU JUST GOT TO ALWAYS BE ON POINT, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT, AND LET THE SKILLS & SOCIAL MEDIA DO THE TALKING.
 
PJ: If you would have a special person that you would love to cook for, who would it be?
    Chris LaVecchia, Private Chef: I CANT THINK OF ANYONE IN PARTICULAR OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD.
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PJ: What does Great Chef means to you? What does Tasty food means to you?
  Chris LaVecchia, Private Chef: BEING A GREAT CHEF, TO ME, MEANS THAT YOU HAVE TO ALWAYS BE PROFESSIONAL NOT JUST IN THE KITCHEN BUT ALSO OUTSIDE OF THE KITCHEN. TO ALWAYS REPRESENT YOURSELF WITH CLASS & PROFESSIONALISM. BEING A GREAT CHEF ALSO MEANS TO ALWAYS CHALLENGE YOURSELF OR THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX A LITTLE. ALWAYS BE CREATIVE. FOR EXAMPLE I RECENTLY STARTED DOING COMPETITIONS TO BETTER MY CRAFT, FURTHER MY EDUCATION AND ALWAYS BE THE BEST AT MY CRAFT THAT I CAN BE. I ALWAYS SAY WHEN YOU GET COMFORTABLE, THATS WHEN YOU STOP CARING OR STOP LOVING IT. SO FOR ME, BEING A GREAT CHEF MEANS NEVER THINKING I KNOW IT ALL. I AM ALWAYS FURTHERING MY SKILLS & MY EDUCATION TO BE THE BEST CHEF THAT I CAN BE, AND I WANT TO REACH MANY GOALS OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS INCLUDING SEVERAL CERTIFICATIONS AS A PROFESSIONAL CHEF THAT WILL BRING MY CULINARY CAREER TO NEW HEIGHTS. TASTY FOOD TO ME IS EVERYTHING. FIRST WE EAT WITH OUR EYES SO FOOD ALWAYS HAS TO LOOK GO ON THE PLATE. THEN OF COURSE THE TASTE HAS TO BE ON POINT. TO ME HAVING FLAVOR ISNT JSUT ADDING A BUNCH OF SALT. MY FOOD ALWAYS HAS SO MANY LEVELS OF FLAVOR THAT YOU JUST CANT BUY IN THE STORE. TASTY FOOD TO ME IS FRESH, HIGH QUALITY INGREDIENTS, AND FLAVORS THAT KNOCK YOU ON YOUR FEET LEAVING YOU CRAVING MORE. TASTY FOOD MEANS EVERYTHING TO ME.
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Above:  Private Event making wine, Fresh Mozzarella & Artisanal Pizza 
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Above:  Expo Ready
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Above:  The Signature Dish. Chicken Alla Vecchia / Bachelorette Party
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Above:  People’s Choice Award Winning Wild Mushroom Tortellini. 5 Cheese Tortellini with a Wild Mushroom Cream Sauce. 
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Above:  Lobster Risotto Appetizer
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Above: Chicken Supreme Duo
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Fresh Herb & Garlic Grilled Lamb Chops With A Mint Puree. Tasting Menu
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Filet Mignon, Roasted Red Pepper Mashed Potatoes, Sautéed Vegetables & Wild Mushroom Demi.
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Above: Long Island Bridal Expo: serving Shrimp Cocktail Shooters 
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Seared Scallops, Fresh Mango Chutney, Sweet Potato Puree Appetizer
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Above: 
Asian Inspired Salmon Dish: Pan Seared Salmon, Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, Sriracha Mayo & Sweet 
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Above:  Lobster Risotto with Butternut Squash & Edamame
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Above:  Spring Mix Salad. Mesclun Greens tossed in a Balsamic Vinaigrette with Kalamata Olives, Haricot Vert, Toasted Sunflower Seeds & Grilled Red Onions
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Above:  Wanna do Vegetarian? No problem. Grilled Zucchini with Roasted Red Pepper Puree, and Roasted Corn & Edamame Salsa
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Above:  Baby Arugula Salad
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Above:  Cold Antipasta with Bread: Starters For Table 
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Above:  Mini Stuffed Peppers, Appetizer
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Above:  Happy Valentine’s Day
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Above:  Tiramisu With Coffee Reduction
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Above: Campfire S’Mores Cake
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Above: White Chocolate Indulgence
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Above: Fresh Brownies & Whipped Cream
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Above:  Jelly Ring Cake
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Above:  Peanut Butter Bliss, Dessert
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Above:  Cappuccino Commotion, Dessert
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Above:  Key Lime Pie, Dessert
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Above:  Berry Upside Down Cake
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PJ: What is the most important lesson you have learned in a Culinary Academy in Long Island?
    Chris LaVecchia, Private Chef: THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON I LEARNED AT CALI WAS THAT IN THE KITCHEN YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING & EVERYTHING. IT IS ALL ABOUT THE PREP WORK, AND YOU CAN TAKE THIS LESSON INTO REAL LIFE. THE SAYING GOES: "IF YOU FAIL TO PREPARE, PREPARE TO FAIL" SO I AM ALWAYS PREPARED FOR WHATEVER COMES MY WAY.
 
PJ: What is your favorite book, Cuisine, Film, time of the year, holiday?
    Chris LaVecchia, Private Chef: MY FAVORITE CUISINE IS BAR FAR ANYTHING ASIAN. I DO LOVE ITALIAN FOOD (WHO DOESN'T??) I MEAN I GREW UP ON HOME COOKED ITALIAN FOOD, BUT ASIAN CUISINE IS UP THERE IN MY FAVORITES. I COULD EAT IT EVERY DAY.
 
PJ: What does happiness means to you?
    Chris LaVecchia, Private Chef: I AM SO BUSY ALWAYS TRYING TO MAKE EVERYONE ELSE HAPPY THAT I NEED TO REMEMBER THAT I NEED TO MAKE MYSELF HAPPY EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE. WHEN I HAVE FREE TIME, I LOVE HOCKEY, AND MY TEAM IS THE NEW YORK RANGERS. I BLEED BLUE, AND NOTHING MAKES ME MORE HAPPIER THAN ENJOYING A RANGERS HOCKEY GAME (ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY ARE PLAYING GOOD). THEIR IS NOTHING LIKE BEING AT A GAME, IN THE GREATEST CITY IN THE WORLD, AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN. ESPECIALLY DURING THE PLAYOFFS. WHEN THE RANGERS SCORE, AND THAT BUILDING ERUPTS......THERE IS NOTHING QUITE LIKE IT. 
 
PJ: What is the specialty on your menu that you are mostly known for?
    Chris LaVecchia, Private Chef: I DO TONS OF SHOWCASES. WHETHER IT BE BRIDAL EXPOS, FOOD & WINE EVENTS, OR FUNDRAISERS I AM ALWAYS SOMEWHERE. SEE, FOR ME I DONT HAVE A RESTAURANT WHERE I CAN SHOWCASE MY FOOD AND PEOPLE CAN COME TASTE TO SEE IF THEY LIKE IT. I COME TO PEOPLES HOMES TO COOK. SO FOR ME, BEING OUT AT SHOWS SERVING SAMPLES OF MY FOOD IS WHERE I GET TO MEET PEOPLE FACE TO FACE. THEY CAN GET TO KNOW ME A LITTLE BIT BETTER, AND ULTIMATELY, SAMPLE MY FOOD. I AM ALWAYS THINKING OF DIFFERENT THINGS TO SERVE AT THESE SHOWS. OVER THE LAST 6 OR 8 MONTHS I HAVE BEEN DOING THIS WILD MUSHROOM TORTELLONI. THE DISH CONSISTS OF A JUMBO TORTELLINI (TORTELLONI) FILLED WITH FIVE CHEESES (PROVOLONE, PARMESAN, ASIAGO, ROMANO & RICOTTA) THEN THE SAUCE IS A WILD MUSHROOM CREAM SAUCE. I DONT EVEN REMEMBER WHEN OR HOW I STARTED DOING THIS DISH, BUT I JUST MADE IT ONE DAY FOR A SHOW. EVERYONE WHO WAS TASTING IT KEPT COMING BACK FOR MORE, AND TELLING ME THAT IT WAS THE BEST DISH OF THE NIGHT. SO I THOUGHT I WAS ON TO SOMETHING. I STARTED MAKING IT MORE AND MORE, AND EVERY TIME I MADE IT I WOULD ADD ANOTHER LEVEL OF FLAVOR, AND EVERY TIME I MADE IT, IT WOULD COME OUT BETTER & BETTER UNTIL I MASTERED THE RECIPE. SINCE I STARTED MAKING IT AT SHOWS, NOW I HAVE BECOME KNOWN FOR THE WILD MUSHROOM TORTELLINI (OR TORTELLONI AS IT SHOULD REALLY BE CALLED BECAUSE THE TORTELLONI IS ALMOST THE SIZE OF A RAVIOLI), BUT I HAVE BECOME KNOWN FOR THIS DISH WHERE PEOPLE WILL SEE ME AT MULTIPLE SHOWS AND WHEN THEY HEAR I HAVE THIS DISH THEIR EYES LIGHT UP LIKE A KID ON CHRISTMAS MORNING, LOL. OVER THE LAST 6-8 MONTHS I HAVE WON AWARDS FOR THIS DISH INCLUDING 3RD PLACE BEST APPETIZER, A PEOPLES CHOICE AWARD AND SOMETIMES WHEN I GET ASKED TO DO SHOWS THIS DISH IS ACTUALLY REQUESTED, IT HAS BECOME SO POPULAR AMONGST FOOD ENTHUSIASTS.
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Above:  Enjoy fine dining & five star service in the comfort of your own home
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Vegetable Tower. Grilled Green Zucchini, Roasted Plum Tomato & Portobello, Fresh Mozzarella, Fried Parsnips with a Balsamic & Truffle Glaze.
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Above: Wine Pairings
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PJ: What would be the most special dinner that you have prepared in your career as a private Chef?
    Chris LaVecchia, Private Chef:  ALL OF THE DINNERS I DO ARE SPECIAL BECAUSE ITS ALWAYS SOME TYPE OF SPECIAL OCCASION OR BIRTHDAY, BUT I WOULD HAVE TO SAY THE MOST SPECIAL ONES ARE THOSE NICE ROMANTIC DINNERS FOR 2. ITS REALLY INTIMATE, AND UNIQUE. ANYONE THAT HAS EVER DONE A ROMANTIC DINNER FOR 2 FOR THEIR WIFE, OR HUSBAND, BOYFRIEND OR GIRLFRIEND HAS HAD NOTHING BUT GREAT THINGS TO SAY, AND THEY ALWAYS SAY THAT IT WAS A REALLY GREAT EXPERIENCE. 
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Enjoy Fine Dining & Five Star Service In The Comfort Of Your Own Home
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Why go out to eat when we can bring the restaurant to you?
Enjoy dining & five star service in the comfort of your home. 
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Enjoy fine dining & five star service in the comfort of you home. Intimate 4 course dinners for 2 or more. 6-10 course tasting menus available. Food & Wine Pairing Available. For more information, availability & pricing
Direct Contact: ChefChrisLaVecchia@gmail.com 
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PJ: What would be your advise to young chefs who want to make a name in a food industry?
    Chris LaVecchia, Private Chef: THE BEST ADVICE I CAN GIVE TO YOUNG CHEFS IS THAT YOU HAVE TO LOVE WHAT YOU DO. IF YOU DONT LOVE IT, THEN JUST WALK AWAY NOW BECAUSE ITS GOING TO TAKE A LOT OF DEDICATION, LOTS OF LONG HOURS, NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS. WHEN EVERYONE ELSE IF OFF OF WORK, WE ARE WORKING. WHEN EVERYONE ELSE IS ENJOYING TIME OFF WITH THEIR FAMILY OR ON VACATION SOMEWHERE, WE ARE WORKING. SO AGAIN, IF YOU DONT LOVE IT JUST WALK AWAY NOW. AT THE END OF THE DAY WE ARE ON OUR FEET FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME, GET COMFORTABLE SHOES!! WE HAVE A CRAZY SCHEDULE AND WORK LONG HOURS, AND MANY TIMES MISS FAMILY BIRTHDAY PARTIES, OTHER EVENTS OR FAMILY TIME BECAUSE WE HAVE TO WORK, BUT EVENTUALLY YOU GET INTO THE HABBIT OF A DIFFERENT SCHEDULE AND YOU MAKE TIME, ON YOUR TIME. ANOTHER PIECE OF ADVICE THAT I WOULD GIVE TO AN ASPIRING CHEF IS TO ALWAYS CHALLENGE YOURSELF, AND NEVER STOP LEARNING. THE MORE YOU CHALLENGE YOURSELF AND THE MORE YOU PICK UP LITTLE TIPS & TRICKS, THE BETTER YOU WILL BE AS A CHEF. NEVER GET COMFORTABLE OR STOP MOVING FORWARD, BECAUSE WHEN YOU STOP LEARNING OR HAVING FUN, IT BECOMES TEDIOUS AND YOU LOSE INTEREST. THEN YOU STOP CARING AND THE WORK SUFFERS. ALWAYS HAVE FUN. IT'S NEVER REALLY WORK WHEN YOU ARE HAVING FUN :O)
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PJ: What are your three wishes?
    Chris LaVecchia, Private Chef: AH, THE 3 WISHES QUESTION. HMMMMM. 
     WELL WHO WOULDN'T WANT TO BE RICH RIGHT? I GUESS I WOULD WISH TO BE RICH, BUT SURPRISINGLY I WOULDN'T STOP WORKING. I LOVE WHAT I DO AND I WOULD KEEP DOING IT. MAYBE JUST NOT 1,000 HOURS A WEEK. I WOULD WISH TO BE RICH AND HAVE AN AWESOME RESTAURANT/LOUNGE THAT IS ALWAYS FULL AND ALWAYS HAVE A PLACE TO GO, AND COOK FOR PEOPLE. WHEN I WANT TO RELAX, OR GO ON VACATION WITH MY FAMILY, I WOULD HAVE AN HONEST STAFF RUNNING THE PLACE, KEEPING THE PATRONS HAPPY AND SATISFIED. I WOULD STILL WANT TO COOK, NOT FOR THE MONEY (BECAUSE I WOULDN'T NEED IT, ID BE RICH) BUT FOR THE FUN OF IT. MORE IMPORTANTLY SEEING PEOPLE GETTING TOGETHER, AND ENJOYING THEMSELVES.
     - MY 2ND WISH WOULD BE A CURE FOR CANCER. OR BETTER YET, A CURE FOR ALL INCURABLE DISEASES. THAT WE WOULD NO LONGER LOSE OUR LOVED ONES TO ANY HORRIBLE, INCURABLE DISEASE.
     - MY 3RD WISH WOULD BE THAT DOGS LIVE LONGER & CAN TALK. THAT WOULD BE AMAZING, HAHA. DOGS ARE THE BEST AND ARE BY YOUR SIDE NO MATTER WHAT. THEY LOVE YOU UNCONDITIONALLY. WHENEVER YOUR HAVING A ROUGH DAY, OR WEEK THEY JUST SEEM TO MAKE IT ALL BETTER. I JUST WISH THEY LIVED LONGER.
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