Chefs are the new Rockstars! From keeping up with new healthy food trends to creating a savouring new dish, this job is nothing short of amazing. I was able to catch up with Bocca Di Bacco’s Executive Chef Kristin Sollenne, In which we talked health, entertaining, and wine. So grab your ingredients and let’s head to the kitchen and cook like Kristin.
Carlton Jared Lockett– As Executive Chef for Bocca Di Bacco Italian Restaurant in New York City, what inspired you to change heavy Italian cuisine for a healthier approach?
Kristin Sollenne– My inspiration for lighter Italian fare started at a young age, as I would create and modify traditional dishes for my parents to help them attain their weight loss goals. Eating is all about the choices you make, so why not choose the best to put into your body? Organic meats and fish, olive oil, fresh herbs and seasonal produce – now that’s a cuisine to love!
CJL– Being Italian-American are there any heavy starch traditional dishes that you miss since transitioning to lightened up Italian fare.
KS– One of my favorite dishes is Gnocchi alla Sorrentina – homemade potato dumplings, tomato and fresh mozzarella. But, everything is good in moderation for a balanced diet.
CJL– With America becoming more health and food conscious, what are a few food spring trends that should be a part of everyone’s grocery list?
KS– Super veggies – especially broccoli & cauliflower. And chicken as your main protein source. Also, ditch the grocery store – head to the Farmer’s Market when you can.
CJL– As a chef who of course cooks often, how do you entertain with friends? Buffet family style? or Sit down dinner?
KS– Definitely depends on the occasion, but I prefer Tapas style. I like everyone tasting a little bit of everything.
CJL– What are tips for cooking flavorful but healthy?
KS– When you use fresh, clean in season ingredients, you really don’t have to do much to make the dish tasty. Stay away from heavy creams and butter and rely more on heart healthy olive oil, garlic and herbs.
CJL– Share with us a typical dinner you would prepare for friends and family.
KS– I’d start everyone with an herb grilled octopus served atop celery and red potato salad.