Posts in the Resources Category

Head 2 Tail 5.0 stages

March 6, 2013 on 5:20 pm | In Blog, Offal, Resources | No Comments

This decision each year gets harder and harder. There was not one bad person in the bunch so it made this years decision even harder. I look forward to welcoming this years 2 new stages in my Kitchen. Thank you all for applying I wish everyone all the best, I wish I could accept more there is just not enough room.

the 2 stages are:

Elias Seda from Washington D.C  The Mini Bar

Andrew Ticer from Memphis, TN  Hogs & Hominy

Both of there essays are below with there names at the top of each.

Continue reading Head 2 Tail 5.0 stages…

Adams head to tail 2012 experience

April 26, 2012 on 11:37 am | In Blog, Offal, Resources | No Comments

photo courtesy of: Michael Harlan Turkell

Dear Chef, Incanto Crew, and all future Head to Tail stage applicants,
There is an endless number of words I can use to describe my week at what might very well be the most interesting restaurant in the country, Incanto.  I hope to use a few of them to both reflect on my time at the restaurant, as well as give all future applicants a better idea of what the experience may entail if they are fortunate enough to be selected.  Before I begin though I would like to say thank you to Chef Chris, Chef Manny, and the entire Incanto crew for inviting me into your world for a few short days, and that I am incredibly grateful for both the experience and our time together.  You were all unbelievably gracious hosts as well as phenomenal cooks and I consider it a privilege to have been a part of the team even if only for a week.  Thank you for that.  Now onto the experience.
First off I must say the stage was intense.  I’m not going to lie and say that there weren’t points where I did not feel as though I was in over my head.  Flying across the country to an unfamiliar city, to work in an unfamiliar kitchen, doing unfamiliar food was certainly more difficult than I had imagined it would be.  It is a tremendous amount of pressure entering a kitchen and representing not only yourself, but all of the people you have worked for over the years.  My first two days I could barely hold my knife straight.  It took me until service the first night of the dinner before I was able to finally get out of my head and just cook.  This was all exacerbated by the fact Incanto is a vigorous place to work.  There are no throw away items on the menu at Incanto.  All of the food is executed at a tremendously high level and as Chef wrote on his blog to describe the experience: “there is a shit ton of detailed work to be done.”  This was certainly the case.  I may have flown 6 hours from New York to northern California, but this was in no way a vacation.  There were sinks of tripe to be cleaned, thousands of fava beans to be shelled, and gallons of consommé to be clarified.  My fellow stage Italo and I were there 15 hours a day, and there was constantly something to be done.  This is by no means a complaint, but rather the reality.
For those future applicants, if you are reading this and are concerned about taking your vacation days and spending crazy amounts of money to fly out to California to work harder than you probably do at your normal job don’t be.  As a restaurant, Incanto is an inspirational place to work even if only for a few days.  I don’t know if there are any other restaurants in the world where food is looked at and viewed the way it is there.  Yes the nose to tail cooking is the main draw but there are so many great things going on in the Incanto kitchen.  The restaurant makes almost everything imaginable in house.  There are the basics like preserves and jams and pickles, but there is so much more.  They dehydrate and grind their own spices and chiles.  Make their own bread.  Their own garum.  Salt and cure egg yolks.  I swear to god there was a fish drying from the ceiling.  Also everything at the restaurant gets used.  Almost nothing is thrown out.  Herb stems go into confit oil. Confit oil gets used to cook with.  Incanto is a model for sustainability.  Every ingredient is treated with the utmost respect from the most expensive protein down to a single stem of mint.  Nearly every product there offers one hundred percent yield.   It is through these practices that even with using almost exclusively sustainable and organic products the restaurant is able to operate with a ridiculously low food cost.  It is amazing to witness and something all cooks and chefs should not only learn how to do, but strive every day to do better.
Now speaking of learning.  This brings me to what I feel is the word that best describes my stage at Incanto – educational.  There is so much to learn at this restaurant, and everyone there is more than willing to teach.  From cooking spleen, to making pasta out of pig skin, dehydrating and puffing beef tendons, and even making panna cotta out of foie gras you will learn a lot.  I know I certainly did.  The chefs at Incanto make it a point that when you work there you are actively learning.  Education often seems like the number one priority.  This extends even beyond food and cooking.  It may mean taking ten minutes out of the busiest day to watch a video about a Japanese man making coffee for tsunami survivors, or taking twenty minutes out of the day to go down the street to browse the cookbook Mecca that is Omnivore Books.  It was a constant theme running through the restaurant that even though we were busy and there was work to be done, we should always be learning something.  Even our day off included lunch with Harold McGee and a trip to the market to check out the different products you won’t find just anywhere.
Perhaps the most important thing I took away from my stage at Incanto though was the memories of a once in a lifetime experience, and if you are reading this still wondering what to expect if you are selected for the stage I offer you this information.  You will have the opportunity to work side by side with an unbelievably brilliant and knowledgeable chef, and a team of cooks as talented as you are likely to encounter anywhere in the country.  You will make extraordinary friends.  You will cook great food and also eat exceptionally well.  And you will work.  Hard.  And when it is over you will want to do it again and again.  Once again I’m incredibly thankful for this experience, and I encourage anyone who is a serious cook to apply.  If you are reading this and have already been accepted I offer you my congratulations and this parting advice.  Work hard.  Work clean.  Cook with confidence.  Have fun.  And mostly importantly even if you’ve done something a million times before,  always read your labels and double/triple check your math.
Thank you Incanto crew and good luck to all applicants.  I look forward to the opportunity to work with you in the future.
Adam R. Wile
Brooklyn, New York

Italo’s head to tail 2012 experience

April 26, 2012 on 11:31 am | In Blog, Offal, Resources | No Comments

photo courtesy of: michael harlan turkell

I need to start off by saying thank you to everyone in the kitchen and front of house for welcoming me into your world for a week.

A few days into my stage Manny asked me if I was having fun, and I answered him in the only way I could truly sum up how I was feeling. I said “This restaurant is like Disneyland for cooks!” It is truly a cooks dream. A beautiful kitchen, a friendly crew, and all of the fun products a cook could ever ask for. The produce is amazing, the offal beyond fresh, and working never felt like work. Chris told me, “We’re all just here to have fun.” I have honestly never had more fun in a kitchen while working so hard. The hours start early and end late, but by the end of the week it all seemed too have gone by too quickly. And what you take with you at the end cannot be learned in any book.

Anyone who considers themselves a chef, or even a cook, needs to experience Incanto first hand. They epitomize what it is to truly cook, to let a product be and not to manipulate it. Just coax it along and help it shine. And any cooks who are thinking about applying for next year’s dinner, DO IT! To not send them your essay would be doing yourself a great injustice.

My time at Incanto was second to none. I have never learned so much in such a short time. And not just recipes and techniques but what it truly is to be a cook. We as cooks have a job, which is prepare food. Pretty obvious there. But what most seem to forget about is that we have a duty to honor the products we are using. Take nothing for granted. I have never seen a kitchen that respects food as much as Incanto. And with zero pretention may I add. When you have pulled mint from the ground essentially you have killed it just as much as when you knock a hog on the head. Now you owe it to that piece of mint and that hog that they were not killed in vain, and that none of it will go to waste. And Incanto was an amazing example of this philosophy.

I honestly had the time of my life and I can’t begin to thank Chef and the rest of the crew enough for the amazing opportunity to work and learn alongside them. I look forward to next year’s head to tail and my next trip to Incanto.

Thank you




Mozo vs Zappos cook off Finale

July 8, 2011 on 1:56 pm | In Blog, Resources, Videos | No Comments YouTube Preview Image


This was so much fun, I hope they had as much fun as Aaron and I did. Who would have thought it would come down to that! Be sure to look to Zappos for our shoes, they cant be beat

Mozo vs Zappos cook off Part 1

July 7, 2011 on 11:41 am | In Blog, Resources, Videos | No Comments YouTube Preview Image

Some how I got paired with the super forward thinking CEO of  Zappos in a cooking competition I dont

know how, but I am not going to complain Tony is a true visionary.

This was a fun event we did at Zappos headquarters in Las Vegas with the entire staff watching on.

There is another video with part 2 coming to see who win take the crown so keep watching.

Restaurant trade panel on Twitter

June 29, 2011 on 7:34 am | In Blog, Resources | No Comments YouTube Preview Image

This is the Amex Trade panel I did about social media in 2010 at Aspen Food and Wine classic. It was a fun panel to be on, what you cant see is I have a giant screen posting my twitter feed to the audience as you answered my questions. It was a great way to show the power of social media.

Aspen restaurant trade panel

June 24, 2011 on 12:58 pm | In Resources, Videos | No Comments YouTube Preview Image


To have the opportunity to speak on this panel with such amazingly talent hospitality professional was an honor. Each one had so much information to share, I hope the audience learned as much as I did.

2009 Mens Health Best foods for Men

November 2, 2009 on 1:56 pm | In Blog, Press, Resources | 5 Comments

Essential Cooking Equipment

Brittany Risher; Chris Cosentino photo by Lisa Hamilton

Use this list to stock your kitchen, and you’ll have all the tools you need to prepare an impressive meal

chris-cosentino-credit-lisa-hamiltonSure, Iron Chef’s Kitchen Stadium is stocked with every pan, knife, and other food gadget ever made. But chances are you’ll never attempt a cookdown with Mario Batali. What you need are the essentials. To help ensure that you have the things you truly need, we talked to Chris Cosentino, chef partner at Incanto in San Francisco and partner and owner of Boccalone (, an artisan salumi business.

The first step, he says, is to determine what your cooking goal is. “”There are so many pieces of equipment,” Cosentino says, “but you don’t need to worry about them all. If you know what you want to do, you can set up your kitchen accordingly.”

Here are the things he recommends the average at-home chef should have on hand to make anything from a fast bite after work to an impressive dinner date.

1. A Cutting Board
boos-cutting-board“Having a proper wooden cutting is where everything is going to start from,” says Cosentino, who likes Boos cutting boards ( Go with wooden—although plastic is non-porous, you’re likely to put deeper knife marks into it, making it hard to clean and disinfect. And bacteria thrive in those scars.

Also, wood won’t dull your knives as quickly, and it draws bacteria below the surface—and therefore away from your food. In fact, a study by researchers at the University of California-Davis Food Safety Laboratory found that used, scarred wooden cutting boards had almost the same amount of bacteria on their surfaces as new wooden ones.

2. Knives
japanese-knivesAll you need are four: chef’s knife, paring knife, boning knife, and fillet knife. The paring knife is for smaller, precise work such as peeling, trimming, coring an apple, and sectioning an orange. The chef’s knife is your Jack-of-all-trades. Use it to chop, mince, and slice vegetables, fruit, herbs, and meat. The boning and fillet knives are self-explanatory.

Cosentino likes Japanese knives because they hold an edge better, he says. When you’re shopping, be sure to pick up the knife and hold it as you’d use it. “When you hold it, is it like an extension of your hand, or is it like having your shoe on the wrong foot?” Cosentino says. “You should like the way the handle feels and the weight of the knife.” If it feels right in your hands, it’s a good choice.

3. A Slow Cooker
slow-cooker“You want a cast-iron, enameled pot—what I call a braiser—to slow-cook items in,” says Cosentino, who has used his Calphalon slow cooker to do everything from make tomato sauce and jam to braise meat and cook a whole chicken. It’s extremely versatile (use it on the stovetop or in the oven) and easy to use: Just prep the ingredients the night before, put them into the pot before you leave for work in the morning, and when you come home, you have dinner. And, since the pot is heavy-bottomed, the heat is dispersed evenly, so you have less chance of burning your food.

4. Pans and Pots
pots-pansKeep things simple (and your cabinet uncluttered): again, four is the magic number. Start with a saucepot to cook soup in and a larger pot to cook pasta in. Then look for 8-inch and 10-inch sauté pans made out of a non-reactive material, such as cast iron or stainless steel. “Aluminum can react with acidity and change the flavor of foods like tomatoes and asparagus,” Cosentino says. He uses Calphalon in the restaurant kitchen and also recommends Demeyere cookware.

But you don’t necessarily need to buy your pans and pots individually—a set may be the best option. “If you want the basics to make beautiful meals, buy a set, and, boom, you have all the pans in the world you need,” Cosentino says. “As long as have a stove and electric or gas, you’re set.” They’re also cheaper and you’re more likely to find sales on sets than on separate items.

5. A Pepper Mill
peugeot-pepper-millIf you want your food to taste good, this overlooked item can make a big difference in flavor. Cosentino says to think about it this way: If you buy preground pepper at the store, who knows how long it’s been sitting there? And how long was it sitting prior arriving at your supermarket? He recommends grinding peppercorns with a Peugeot mill.

6. The Basics
Don’t overlook the obvious things such as a whisk, mixing bowl, spatula (Cosentino likes fish spatulas, which are good for both delicate and heavier foods), and the one thing no man can do without: a grill.

7. The Extras
Pass on the onion goggles, but if you have a few extra bucks, there are two nonessentials Cosentino thinks are worth it: a pizza stone and a Benriner mandolin (

pizza-stone- Buy a stone, and all you need to do is hit the grocery store for prepared dough and the toppings of your choice, and you’re ready to make a pie that tastes better—and has less grease and fewer calories—than delivery. “A pizza stone helps keep the oven temperature constant,” Cosentino says, and that results in a perfect crust.

- Use the mandolin for an easy way to julienne vegetables or cut them into matchsticks. You can quickly slice tons of vegetables and fruit with it, so you don’t need a knife, and they’ll all be uniform size, which can turn an ordinary salad into an impressive-looking course when you invite your girlfriend over for dinner.

Nduja the spicy spreadable meat treat

November 2, 2009 on 12:59 pm | In Blog, Recipes, Resources | No Comments

boccalone store

To some the idea of a spreadable salumi is a bit out there, to me it’s perfectly rich, spicy, porky goodness. Nduja is  a classical salumi from Calabria that has spread its way into my heart and others around the country. The most commonly asked question is what do I do with it? There are so many uses; pizza, crostini, bruschetta.  So, here are a few recipes to keep everyone busy for a while, one is from me and the other from the great pastry chef and italophile Gina Depalma.

Continue reading Nduja the spicy spreadable meat treat…

Powered by WordPress
Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS. ^Top^