Hell’s Kitchen: Salvatore Coppola
Hometown: Monte Di Procide, Italy
Occupation: Pizzeria Chef, Laurel Springs, NJ
What was your first job in a kitchen?
The day after I came to the States, I started working at my uncle’s pizza shop in North Jersey, at the age of 15. I was the dishwasher/prep boy. I would clean the bathrooms, wash the dishes, cut onions, and whatever else needed to be done.
What is the first dish you ever mastered?
Spaghetti aglio e olio, but it is not your traditional garlic and oil pasta dish. It is made with pine nuts, sliced garlic, olive oil, anchovy fillet, walnuts, raisins and pepperoncini. Growing up, my mother often made this dish in Italy and I wanted to bring a taste here to America. It sounds odd when hearing the ingredients, but has great flavor when all blended together.
What is your signature dish?
My signature dish is cod with shellfish, and risotto with goat cheese and blueberry.
Who was your first cooking inspiration?
I would definitely say my Mother. Growing up in an Italian household, I got to see her cook for us every day, and how happy it made her. Sunday was my favorite day, because my mother made meatballs with sauce. Even today, I still can’t make them as good as she can.
Next: Scott Hawley