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How do you characterize your cuisine?

Contemporary Italian—taking a very traditional cuisine, using the best ingredients from Italy and locally. and putting our own spin on classic dishes.

What region or ethnicity most influences your cooking?

During the summer it's southern Italy, from Naples on down, including Sicily. So many of the ingredients we are using today—tomatoes, squash, fresh beans, eggplant, burrata—are abundant in the south.

What is your signature dish?

Strozzapreti neri ai fruitti di mare (mussels, calamari, ruby red shrimp, caper and olives).

What kind of food were you exposed to as a child?

My grandmother, who was part Italian, was really the cook of the family. Southbury, Connecticut, was all farms, there was fresh produce from my father's garden and the local farms, and we age lots of fresh vegetables, simply prepared.

Have you ever lived or trained overseas? Where?

I worked in the South of France at Auberge du Vieux Puits for a summer.

Is there an exotic spice or ingredient that you particularly enjoy using?

I really like heat and experimenting with the different chilies from southern Italy.

Does the design and style of your restaurant evoke a particular place? If so, where?

It's unique to Lincoln Center. It's like nothing I have ever seen or done before.

When you cook for yourself, what do you make?

My favorites are roast chicken or grilled rib eye of beef with asparagus and baked potato and a mixed green salad with Paul Newman's Own dressing.

Tell us about some trips you've taken for inspiration.

Checking out colleagues in Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Chicago. We went on a two-week trip from Sicily to Milan, eating our way up at local restaurants and checking out the markets. But my dream trip would be to go to Japan.