Over the next few days, we’ll feature the personal stories of several chefs from New York City and around the country to see what they went through on that morning 10 years ago, and how 9/11 has affected them as people and as chefs.
Where were you and what happened on the morning of 9/11?
I was with [business partner] Vinny [Dotolo] and woke up in Tallahassee while driving across the country for the first time. It was our first stop after our parents’ houses on our way to move to Colorado. We decided to forge on and drive to Auburn and we ended up staying a week. Originally we were going to drive to New Orleans, but our friend that we were supposed to stay with had a New York cell phone number and we couldn't reach her, so Auburn it was.
How did the aftermath change your life, both personally and professionally?
Personally, it changed my life because it was the first time as a U.S. citizen that I saw the country united. Professionally, it definitely helped me get to where I am today. I was inspired by seeing everyone come together — it really shaped us as individuals and inspired our determination. Our first job when we got to California was at a place called Chadwicks. September 11 caused them to close for lunch, and when we got to LA, they were just about to re-open and Vinny and I got hired.
More memories from September 11: