Chef News

Lisa G at Arcadia Marketplace, Part 2

Yesterday, Lisa G set the record straight about her family history and why she sold her namesake restaurant. Today she shares tricks, pet peeves, and gives some advice for aspiring female chefs.

At home, do you cook for yourself?
No! Once in a while I will but I am so tired when I get home most of the time because I go, go, go...I come in at 6:00 and I leave at 5:00 typically...sometimes I don't get home till 7:00. I get up at 4:30 in the morning, so by the time I get home I just want to sleep you know?

But you must eat something...
I have salad, I have fish, I'm a pretty clean eater.

Music while you cook?
I love classic rock...Classic Led Zeppelin...Country makes me a little crazy...Then I'll listen to Frank Sinatra, that's what I grew up with with my Dad...At home I dance around the kitchen!

Cooking strategy:
I always say it's made with love...I do everything by feel, that's how I learned how to cook. So when I opened my restaurant I had to teach my kitchen my recipes and it was torture because I'd go like that, I'd go like that with my meatballs , I know how much parsley, I know how much what we would do is we'd throw it in, measure it, and write it down, and that's how I'd create the recipe. I don't measure, I know by feel.

Can't live without:
Garlic and olive oil

You take the leftovers:
I grew up with three brothers who always ate the leftovers. I'm kind of spoiled that way, I never eat leftovers...I can't eat spicy stuff. I've never eaten an olive...I'm probably the only Italian that doesn't like olives, used to drive my Dad crazy.

Pet Peeves?
I have to have everything separate. I don't like my food mixing...especially with the sauce or gravy. When the sauce goes into all the vegetables and everything else it all tastes the same to me, I wanna savor each special flavor, I don't wanna have it all the same!

Advice for aspiring chefs and especially women?
There's a lot of people that go into the restaurant business because they think it will be fun but it's a lot of work you know, so they have to be committed and ready for that to happen. Make sure you have enough money to live because it's a challenge for you as an owner to really be able to take an income in the beginning...And I think that sometimes, being a woman there definitely is more challenge.

On breaking into the boy's club:
I am a strong independent woman and I owned my own restaurant, and I had challenges with men on different levels as far as business and the level of respect and "oh well you're not a real chef." And I never considered myself a chef, I think I'm a really good cook. I didn't go to school for cooking but I learned from some really great chefs...I was standing on a chair, turning sauce at five years old, so to me it was in my roots since I was a little girl.

It's my party:
I don't care what people think about me. I am who I am, I am from back east, you are gonna get abused, that's the way it is! And I'm not afraid to say what I feel. And I am 4'11''! I am a little person, but I have a big personality and no one's ever gonna tell me I can't do something...Some people are extremely offended by me...I don't have to impress anybody, I just want to be myself I just wanna have fun and enjoy my life. Either you're on the train or you're not, it's ok!

Pride and Joy:
My meatballs... In the beginning, when I did the menu, I called it balls, "Lisa's bowl of balls." When I first opened, people would be like (whispers) "I want that"...Then everybody got comfortable but it was funny how people couldn't even say the word balls...And then I had a drink called the G Spot..I like the play on words.

Check back tomorrow for Lisa G's family recipe for Chicken Juno.

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Maya Dukmasova