Growing up in Rhode Island, Chris Cosentino spent his time clamming, commercial fishing, and cranking the pasta machine in his great-grandmother’s kitchen. He was raised on a cuisine particular to parts of New England where Atlantic seafood, Yankee fare and classic Italian cooking fuse into one colorful gastronomy. Creating good food was a family tradition, as Cosentino’s maternal ancestors, the Eastons, were the founders of Newport’s beloved Easton’s Sausage Company. Today, as executive chef of San Francisco’s Incanto, where he cooks in an earthy rustic Italian style, Cosentino is proving that a penchant for meats may just be hereditary. Cured, raw or roasted; traditional cut or offal, meat is his muse. Yet this meat-loving chef does not ignore produce. California is a giant garden, he says, and indeed, he can be spotted at San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza farmers market every Saturday morning, rain or shine. Cosentino’s formal education took place at Johnson and Wales. Upon graduation, he worked at Mark Miller’s Red Sage in Washington, DC. After Red Sage, Cosentino worked at Kinkead’s before moving to San Francisco to work under Traci des Jardins at Rubicon. He was then tapped by Drew Nieporent to open The Coach House on Martha’s Vineyard. Cosentino returned to California to work briefly at Chez Panisse, as well as the three-star Belon as sous chef, and as a chef/consultant at Michael Mina’s Aqua group, opening Nob Hill in Las Vegas. At Incanto, Cosentino makes his Executive Chef debut. He took over the helm of the one year-old restaurant in 2003, immediately garnering a three-star review from SF Chronicle’s Michael Bauer, the first of many critical accolades. Tune-in for another exciting episode with chef Chris Cosentino! This program has been sponsored by Whole Foods Market.

Photo by Abby Ainsworth, acqtaste.com

“When I was 14 years old, I lied and worked as a dishwasher at an IHOP. I showed up, and nine hours later, I went home. It was a big eye opener for me.” [7:09]

“Know where the food comes from first, before you start a trend and change the world. That’s what Mark Miller taught me.” [23:30]

Chris Cosentino on Chef’s Story