Study up on acclaimed chef Todd English.

By Denise Gee
October 11, 2002

Zagat calls superstar chef Todd English's food "lusty, gutsycooking." We happily agree. Here, you can nibble on some Toddtrivia and a bonus recipe.

VITALS: Born August 29, 1960, in Amarillo, Texas; raisedthere, Atlanta, Georgia, and Branford, Connecticut.

EDUCATION: Guilford College, North Carolina; The CulinaryInstitute of America, Hyde Park, New York; apprenticeships at DalPescatore in Canto Sull O'lio, Italy, and Paraccuchi in LocandoD'Angello, Italy.

HOW HE GOT INTO THE BUSINESS: "One night, when I was 14, Istopped by to see my friend Ivan. He was working at a littleMexican place in Branford, Connecticut, and he asked if I had plansfor the evening--thinking he had something great in mind, I saidthat I had none. Instead, he said that his dishwasher was sick andasked if I could help out. There was no dishwasher; you washed thepots and plates and silverware by hand. I just jumped right in andfor some strange reason, I really loved it. I don't know why--well,okay, you got as much free beer as you wanted." (From Todd's firstbook, The Olives Table; see "His Books," below.)

BOY MEETS GIRL: In 1982, Todd met his wife-to-be, Olivia,during their studies at The Culinary Institute of America. "I tookher picture for her school ID. You know, love at first snap." (FromThe Olives Table)

CAREER HIGHS: Working with Jean-Jacques Rachou at La CoteBasque in New York, and his top professional honors--especially hisJames Beard awards: "National Rising Star Chef" (1991), the RobertMondavi Award for Culinary Excellence (1991), and "Best Chef:Northeast" (1994) .

NEAR-HIT CAREER: "It would have to be baseball, in that Iwonder what would have happened if I had given it more of a shot,"he told Nation's Restaurant News. "I played from the time I was 7years old. My father was a first baseman coach," he toldstarchefs.com. "I had opportunities that I never reallypursued--with some Miami teams and a few larger colleges--and thenI ended up bailing and began cooking."

GUILTY PLEASURE: Peanut butter and jelly.

HIS BOOKS:

The Olives Table: Over 160 Recipes from the Critically AcclaimedRestaurant and Home Kitchen of Todd English, co-authored withSally Sampson (Simon & Schuster, 1997).

The Figs Table: More than 100 Recipes for Pizza, Pastas, Salads,and Desserts, co-authored with Sally Sampson (Simon &Schuster, 1998).

The Olives Dessert Table: Spectacular Restaurant Desserts YouCan Make at Home, co-authored with Paige Retus and SallySampson (Simon & Schuster, 2000).

HIS RESTAURANTS: Todd's restaurants consistently receiverave reviews for their worldbeat fare. Next stop? Maybe London. Fornow, head to:

Olives--his most acclaimed Mediterranean-influencedrestaurant, with its original location near Boston in Charlestown,Massachusetts (617/242-1999; since 1989). Newer locations inWashington, D.C. (202/452-1866); Las Vegas (702/693-8181); Aspen(970/920-7356); and New York City (718/423-6095).

Figs--a family-friendly retreat known for its homey pizzaand pastas. Massachusetts locations in Charlestown (617/242-2229);Boston (617/742-3447); Wellesley (781/237-5788); and Chestnut Hill(617/738-9992). There's also a location at New York City'sLaGuardia Airport, Central Terminal Building (718/446-7600).

Miramar--fine dining at The Inn at National Hall, Westport,Connecticut; 203/222-2267 or www.innatnationalhall.com.

Greg Norman's Australian Grille--fine dining at BarefootLanding in North Myrtle Beach, SC; 843/361-0000.

Kingfish Hall--sumptuous seafood at Faneuil Hall, Boston;617/523-8862.

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