This is part one of my interview with Chris Curtiss, executive chef at NoRTH Arcadia. Come back tomorrow for part two.
Chris Curtiss looks happy. He's making pasta at a wooden table in NoRTH Arcadia's sparkling exhibition kitchen, and the man is clearly in his element. He admits he probably should've known he was destined to be a chef, given his catholic interest in food at an early age, but he tried the traditional route first, earning a degree in psychology at Arizona State University. As a teen, he'd dabbled in farming and butchering through part-time jobs, and after graduation, the Bay Area native headed back to California for a gig at a Wente family winery. While working in the tasting room, Curtiss met Jim Rio (chef-owner of Jimanelli's), who brought him to his restaurant and taught him about fresh pasta and house-made sausage. Rio gave him books to read and his first chef's knife, later hooking him up with acclaimed French chef Denis Soriano at The Grand Café in Washington DC.