Executive Chef at new North Miami Beach eatery Yes, Pasta! - where diners can create their own carb masterpieces - Paolo del Papa talks mushroom hunting, his papa and why he'll never know everything.
I'm sure all the dishes on a menu are like children, but which one is your favorite?
The wild mushroom and truffle sauce, because it reminds me when I was child. My father and I would go to pick mushrooms and when we were lucky we also found some truffles.
Most popular item on the menu?
Our ravello salad and any of our home made fresh pastas.
Secret to cooking perfect pasta?
Cooking the pasta for a short time in the water and then finish it in the sauce. And always put some love into everything you prepare.
The 5 ingredients every kitchen should have?
I love fresh herbs in every dish I made -- especially basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme and sage
Moment you knew you wanted to be a chef?
I always knew I would be a chef. I grew up in my father's kitchen and fell in love with cooking. My father and I found a way to bond through food. I was constantly following him around the kitchen, where I would watch what he was doing and help him prepare different dishes. It was like I was his chef's apprentice.
Best cooking advice you ever received?
Never think that you know everything. There is always something to learn from everybody.
First dish you learned to make?
My father taught me how to make Pasta alla Amatriciana when I was 12 years old.
Fondest food memory?
Every opportunity that I've been able to help teach some one how to cook. Watching them grow and discover their own style is always inspirational.
Favorite dish to make at home?
At home everything I make is simple, healthy and fresh, with lots of herbs.
What could you live off of for the rest of your life?
A nice fresh baked bread with a slice of salami a piece of cheese. Paired with a glass of wine.