The Salad Freak author on cooking for Martha Stewart, smoking with Snoop Dogg, and growing up on Shelter Island.
AS TOLD TO GOSSAMER
When people are like, “Oh, you’re not a chef, you’ve never worked in a restaurant,” I’m like, “Dude, I cooked for Martha Stewart for over 10 years. That’s the most difficult customer you’re ever going to get.” I feel like if I can impress her, I’m pretty confident.
I always loved cooking. It was something I enjoyed doing for fun even as a middle schooler. My dad would let me have dinner parties when my mom was at work, and just make a huge mess. I’ve also always been obsessed with Martha Stewart. I think at a very early age, I identified her as someone who had a lot of the qualities I wanted. I love the idea of entertaining and making things look beautiful. But then I put that to the back of my mind because it didn’t really seem like a career. Instead, I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon.
So I did that whole thing. I was working at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York and studying for my MCATS. I loved interacting with patients and a lot of the academic parts of it. And I liked working with my hands, but I didn’t like having to go to the same place every day and being in a room with no windows for many, many hours.