Tony Rosenfeld is a cookbook author, food writer and co-owner and executive chef of Boston’s b. good restaurants. He is a contributing editor at Fine Cooking magazine and his food writing has appeared in the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, The New York Times, Cooking Light and Bon Appétit magazine. He is also behind Cook Angel, an online community for cooks to ask questions and talk about their cooking adventures at home.
Q: What made you want to become a chef? Was there an element of your family life growing up that led you to this career choice?
A: I’m lucky; we sat down to eat most every dinner together as a family. Don’t get me wrong, my brothers and I still fought at every one of them, but my mom was a great cook and the whole thing just kind of took.
Q: What’s the best cooking advice you’ve ever received?
A: Nothing pithy or snappy; more of an overarching approach to taste – and taste again – every single thing before serving.
Q: Who or what is behind your culinary inspiration?
A: I’m not sure it’s one person. There are so many folks who make good, unpretentious food; those are the ones that inspire me.
Q: What’s the first meal you ever learned to cook on your own?
A: I made a Minestrone when I was like 11 and it was probably my most triumphant moment up until that point.
Q: What are the three tools you can’t live without while cooking a meal?
A: Chef’s knife, pepper mill, and microplane grater
Q: What ingredient are you most willing to splurge on?
Q: What’s one budget item that should be on every home gourmet’s grocery list?
A: Of course, kosher salt is as budget as it gets, but so important for properly seasoning. Smoked sea salt isn’t too pricey and adds a nice hit of smoke to simple roasts and grilled food.
Q: What is the best dish you’ve ever made?
A: Not sure; even now, all of my homemade pastas and breads always seem like minor miracles to me.
Q: Is there a chef that you really admire or look up to?
A: Jacques Pepin.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you would give to an amateur chef?
A: Don’t be shy about asking to do an apprenticeship at one of your favorite bakeries or restaurants. If you’re willing to work for free, there’s a lot you can learn. And unpaid “stages” are a traditional part of the cooking industry.