Chef Rossi, of the renowned Raging Skillet, is a master storyteller, and this episode doesn't disappoint. She is not your ordinary chef. She credits her success to everything from "kishka and grits" to marijuana munchies to the Hasidim in Crown Heights to foul-mouthed bar tending. Her stories are phenomenal, worthy of a Moth competition. Oh, and don't take my word for it: her cookbook (!)/memoir is being turned into a play and screenplay!
Rossi, yes, she only has one name -– has been a writer for many publications, such as The Daily News, The New York Post, Time Out New York and Mcsweeney's to name a few. She has been the food writer of the "Eat Me" column for Bust magazine since 1998, hosts her own hit radio show on WOMR and WFMR in Cape Cod called "Bite This," now in its twelfth season, has been featured on "The Food Network" and "NPR” and is a popular blogger for “The Huffington Post.”
As the owner and executive chef of "The Raging Skillet," a cutting-edge catering company known for breaking any and all rules, she has earned a reputation as the one to call when it's time to do something different.
The Raging Skillet has been called "a new breed of rebel anti-caterer" by The New York Times, "the wildest thing this side of the Mason Dixon line" by Zagat and has been named among The Knot’s Best Of Wedding Caterers for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 2015 and now 2016. Having won six years in a row, The Raging Skillet is in The Knot’s Hall of Fame.
On November of 2015 Rossi’s first memoir; The Raging Skillet/The True Life Story of Chef Rossi was published from the Feminist Press to rave reviews.
From Kirkus - "A humorous and witty chronicle of a woman’s pulling-herself-up-by-her-bootstraps rise through the culinary ranks."
From Publisher’s Weekly: "With an insightful and irreverent voice, Rossi’s debut is well suited for foodies, feminists, and creative revolutionaries."
Rossi’s motto is simple; "molds are a delicious thing to break!”
Subscribe to "How I Broke Into" on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, TuneIn, I Heart Radio, or Google, or listen to the entire podcast here:
Notes from the show:
As a child, she always thought she would end up as President of the US. Then she thought she would end up an artist. She has always had a problem with authority and considers herself completely unemployable.
Her parents bought swampland in Panama City, Florida (the "Redneck Riviera"), diet of "kishka and grits."
At 13, her mother got a microwave and that was the end of home-cooked meals.
She discovered marijuana, made stoner food.
At 16, she ran away from home. Her parents drove her to Hasidic Crown Heights... "like being dropped off on Mars with matzoh balls."
She explored different cuisines based on the ethnicity of women she dated.
She hired a sous chef who was so good, should have been the chef.
She cooked for 10 years before going solo.
"The Raging Skillet" came to her like a light bulb.
Doing V-Day for The Vagina Monologues led to her listing in
Celebrities love to be treated like everyone else, and she likes to treat everyday people like celebrities.
She is most comfortable with 150-200 people.
She did not like working in restaurants: too high stress yet boring. She lived for the daily specials.
Her goal is to delegate more and have more fun.
By working for others, she learned what not to do.
She has a "Zen kitchen." No yelling allowed.
"Gordon [Ramsey], there's no way people aren't spitting in the food."
She turns down competition shows.
Stay super-organized. Never let things accumulate.
The food processor: "mi esposa."
The play based on her book is written by Jacques Lamarre.
Advice: go work for as many different types of kitchens.
She loves The White Trash Cookbook.