After a shift what is your favorite guilty pleasure to eat? “Sausage pizza.”
Did you grow up cooking as a kid? “I peeled my first fava bean at 3, cleaned my first squid at 4 and cooked zeppole with my Mom at 5.”
What cookbook is your go-to resource for inspiration? “Out of the 1,450 cookbooks I cherish, James Beard’s American Cookery is my constant source; wonderful anecdotes, historical tidbits and delicious inspiration on every page.”
Is there one dish you won’t cook? “Borscht.”
All-time favorite spice. “Cinnamon.”
What is your favorite music to listen to while you cook? “The Grateful Dead.”
After all these years working in restaurants do you still enjoy going out to eat? “I love having others cook for me, anytime, and share the fruits of their beloved labors.”
Is there one chef you’d like to cook with? “Spanish chef Ferran Adrià”
Name the all-time best cooking show. “Michael’s Place, which ran on the Food Network from 1997 to 2000. So what did you expect me to say? But the real answer is Julia Child’s Cooking with Master Chefs.”
What is the one tool that you always make sure to pack when you’re traveling for business? “My 8-inch Wustoff Chef’s Knife.”
Michael Lomonaco is the chef and owner of New York’s Porter House Bar and Grill and the chef of Center Bar.
Interview has been condensed and edited.