Interview with Chef Richard Mancini

Last week’s episode of Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell featured two very talented chefs in the final round. In the end, the decision for the owners of the Old Homestead Restaurant (NYC) came down to either Chef Jernard Wells’ southern style of cooking or go with the more traditional route with Chef Richard Mancini. The owners selected Chef Richard. We caught up with Chef Richard after his victory and here is what he had to say.

FP: How did you get your start with cooking? When did you decide you wanted to become a chef? What do you enjoy most about being a chef?

RM: When my Aunt Dolly (who has passed away) would cook, she would put me on the counter and explain all the steps and ingredients. As far back as I can remember, all I ever wanted to be was a chef and restaurateur. The best thing about being a chef is the pleasure and happiness my food brings to people.

FP: Cooking certainly brings joy and happiness to people! 

Aside from your Aunt Dolly, name some of your favorite chefs and why.

RM: Well I would have to say Gordon Elliott for being so young and accomplishing what he has so far is great. Also, Scott Harris of Francesca’s for pretty much for the same reason.

FP: Tell us about your experience on Chef Wanted from casting to filming. What was it like to compete with the other chefs? What was it like to interact with Chef Anne Burrell? She was intense in that last round!

RM: Chef Wanted was three days of grueling cooking and filming with a camera and a mic always following you. However, the entire crew and staff were wonderful and I enjoyed the experience very much.

Chef Anne was very interesting and hard on me but that is what it takes to make it. She was great.

FP: She always strikes us as someone with a great “tough love” attitude.

When you are home, what are some of your favorite meals to cook for yourself (If any)? If you go out to eat, name some favorite places in some of the cities you’ve visited. What are some of your guilty pleasures (if any)? We like to call them foodie pleasures, hence the name 🙂 

RM: I do not do much cooking at home so it’s usually some good cheese and wine. When I go out, I like going to Catch of the Day in Boston. In Chicago, I like Catch 35, Abishari for sushi and Bob Chinn’s Crab House.

FP: Those places all sound great. If we are ever in Chicago, we will make sure to check those spots out!

Name three individuals you would want to invite over for dinner and what you would prepare for them.

RM: Emeril Lagasse and make him my version of a real Ettouffe. Scott Conant and make him my Porchetta and homemade Gnocchis. Alex Guarnaschelli and prepare my Stuffed Veal chop and potato pancake

FP: Yum! In three words, how would your friends and family describe you?

RM: Passionate, kind-hearted and short-tempered.

FP: We definitely saw your passion on Chef Wanted!

What are some of your non-cooking hobbies and interests?

RM: I am very involved with sports especially my son’s hockey team. I also teach cooking and sushi rolling classes.

FP: We love sushi! We’d love to take one of your classes someday. Thank you so much for your time Chef Richard. Best of luck in your future endeavors! 

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