Interview with Chef Walter Pisano

Chef’s Table is a series of Interviews with some of the top chefs in North America.

Chef Walter Pisano

I had dinner at Tulio Restaurant where Chef Walter Pisano resides they are located inside Kimpton Hotel Vintage Park in Seattle.

Through traditional apprenticeships, Chef Pisano was trained in classical European cuisine before moving to Seattle in 1980 where he helped open The Hunt Club at the Sorrento Hotel. In 1984, Chef Pisano ventured on a culinary tour of Europe, immersing himself in Italian and French cuisines.

Appointments that followed included the Executive Chef at the popular Bravo Pagliacci, and the Sous Chef at Gerard Relais de Lyon restaurant in Bothell, where he met superstar Chef Jean-Louis Palladin. Pisano then became the first American to work as a Sous Chef at the prestigious Jean-Louis restaurant at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.

What style of cooking is your cuisine at Tulio?

Italian with a northwest influence (all regions of Italy)

Which wine would you pair with your RIBEYE dry aged 28 days, porcini salted potatoes, Gorgonzola Dolci ?

VIETTI ‘Castiglione,’ Barolo, DOCG

Have any celebrities that you know of dined at your restaurant over the years? If so who?

  • U2/Bono
  • Paul Newman
  • JFK JR
  • Jeff Bezos (Founder of Amazon)
  • Bill Gates
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Sidney Poitier
  • Al Gore
  • Alan Greenspan
  • Many Major League Baseball Players including: Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mike Piazza

What is your favourite cuisine to eat?

Sushi

What challenges you as a chef?

Making creative food that inspires me that also pleases my guests-it’s a balance I try to achieve every day

What do you want your chefs to learn from you?

  • Finesse.
  • I want them to bring finesse into their cooking style through flavor, execution and presentation

What is your favourite dish to make (personally) at home?

Anything new that I haven’t tried before.  The other night I made empanadas for the first time-they were great.

Where is your favourite food city and why?

New York. It’s so diverse and there is so much ethnic cuisine and various styles of food.  You can really get anything you want whenever you want it.

What did you want to be when growing up?

A forest ranger (kind of funny for a kid from Brooklyn)

What are your favourite Seattle restaurants (other than yours)?

There are so many great restaurants and great chefs in this city it’s really tough to choose one.  We have so many new restaurants opening all the time I really try and get around to as many as I can.

What do you like to do in your off time?

  • Go to Sounders (MLS) games
  • Spend time with my family
  • Cook for friends
  • Spend time outside

Which 3 wines do you enjoy personally?

  1. Col Solare
  2. Marceau (white burgundy)
  3. Amarone

How do you go about pushing the boundary and achieving excellence in your profession as a chef?

By knowing what’s going on seasonally, and with new products.

I’m also constantly expanding my food knowledge to the beverage side-recently I came up with a menu of ‘food inspired cocktails’ which merged my favorite liquors with my favorite Italian foods.

If there was one thing you could do as a chef that you have not already done, what would it be?

I would love to go on a culinary excursion through Italy, France and Spain.

As an experienced chef, my travels would be quite different than when I visited those countries before-now I have a better understanding, appreciation and knowledge of food.


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