James Briscione

James Briscione

Executive Chef of Angelina’s

Everyday I see my peers do something amazing: use an ingredient in a way I never imagined, tweak a technique to create a result that seems impossible. On rare occasions, I make one of these discoveries myself. That handful of moments through my career is the reason that I cook, everyday.

I spend my days at the forefront of culinary innovation. It’s sexy, and technology and scientific discovery have revolutionized the way we cook. But still, the most important thing a young cook can learn is culinary history and the battery classic dishes. You cannot reach the future with out understanding the past. Previous experience is the basis of creativity.
How to season is a lesson that you cannot learn from a book, a website, an app or a video. You can only learn how to season food properly though the act of cooking. There are no shortcuts. Mastery only comes through practice.
Too many people neglect engaging all of their senses in the act of cooking. When I walk through the kitchen I can hear someone using improper technique to chop herbs; I know the sound of a dull knife moving through an onion. I know what the sear on a steak looks like by seeing the oil in the pan, not the meat. Great cooking requires you be to aware with all of your senses
One thing that drives me is crazy as a culinary instructor is students or young cooks who do not want to taste a new food because they think they won’t like it. Every dish and every bite is an opportunity to learn; whether it is good or bad, tasting it with an open mind will make you a better cook.
More than anything, Frank Stitt taught me how to care for an ingredient. He taught me to care about where the ingredient came from, the person that brought it to the restaurant, how it was handled once it arrived and most of all, he taught me to be thoughtful about how each ingredient was cooked.

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