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20 questions with wildebeest's executive chef alessandro vianello

Gooseneck Hospitality's main man talks golf, seasonality and his mom's spaghetti.

1. What is your first food memory?
Making breakfast for my parents when I was 7 or 8 for their anniversary.

2. Did you attend a culinary school? If so, where?

I went to Northwest Culinary for the 4 month program, and then did my apprenticeship through VCC.

3. What was your first kitchen job?

White spot when I was 14. Started in the dish and worked my way up through all the stations. It kind of sucked, but not a lot of chefs are willing to hire a fourteen your old kid.

4. When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

Honestly, it's the only thing I ever wanted do. My family is from Italy, and when I was young , we would go every second year for Christmas. I think watching my nonna and aunt cooking with my mom helped. All the smells and tastes drove me nuts.

5. Do you have a favourite ingredient?

That's not an easy question. I really think my favourite ingredient changes with the season,s or what is fresh and local. Right now its peaches and plums, last month was garlic scapes and heirloom tomatoes. But I guess if I had to pick one, I would go with sea salt. I hate under seasoned food.

6. What chef or chefs inspired you? Both past and present.

Ana Ros, Thomas Keller, Daniel Humm, Philip Foss, David Kinch, Fergus Henderson, Massimo Bottura, John Campbell.

7. What do you enjoy doing on your days off?

I like to golf, I try to get out at least once a week. BBQ on the beach with friends, I love cooking over open fire. My brother lives in the Okanagan and I really like going to wineries with him, so I try to get up there when I can.

8. You can only listen to five albums for the rest of your life. What are they?

Daft Punk - Alive 2007
Queen - Greatest Hits
Jurassic 5 - Power in Numbers
Biggie Smalls - Ready to Die
Chance the Rapper - Colouring Book

9. How would you describe your style of cooking?

I like to focus on what's seasonally available from local farmers and fishermen. I usually have a bit of Italian influence on whatever I am cooking as well.

10. Tacos, Wings or Pizza?

Tacos all day, er day.

11. Food Network. Yes or No?

No, well maybe if it was the Food Network 15 years ago when it was half decent. I think all the shows now are just catered to the home cook. I guess it makes sense though, I don't have as much time to watch TV as home cooks with a 9-5 job.

12. What is your standard go-to alcoholic beverage?

Usually a glass of wine, or Averna on ice.

13. What is your favourite movie of all time?

The Boondock Saints

14. If you weren't cooking for a living, what do you think you would be doing professionally?

Something creative, maybe photography.

15. Do you have a most memorable meal?

The Vineyard at Stockcross. I had the tasting menu for lunch, then had a glass of wine at the bar, and ended up staying for dinner. A close second would be Hisa Fanko in Slovenia.

16. What is one tip you would give a home cook to help improve their cooking?

Season you food.

17. What inspires you?

Whatever is in season and most delicious at this moment in time.

18. What is your favourite local restaurant?
Phnom Penh and Bao Bei.

19. What did you eat for dinner last night?

Sushi from the Diamond.

20. What would you eat for your last meal?

My mom's spaghetti with ragu and bottle of 1990 Amarone.
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