My name is Chris and welcome to Off Track Cooking! Your home for cooking, eating, and drinking.
I grew up in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and had a large Sicilian and Pennsylvania Dutch family. My Sicilian side taught me all about making sauces and fresh pasta. When my Uncle Louie wasn’t hustling stuff that “fell off a truck” he was making peppers and sausage or meatballs with the “Family Red Sauce”.
On the Dutch side was my Grandfather who lived a Hemingway-esque life, which included being a chef. For a time he ran a charter fishing company in Islamorada, Florida Keys where my love of fresh, fresh, fresh seafood was born and grew into the near obsession I have today.
These early lessons in food and cooking set me down a culinary path which led me to my first cooking job at the Student Union Café. While attending The University of Pittsburgh I started as a prep cook in the café. I managed to move up the ladder and learned a lot during my time on the line.
After college I moved out west to Hollywood to become the next Martin Scorsese. I never became famous, but I’ve worked on hundreds of movies, TV shows, and commercials. I may have been busy, but I never lost my passion for food. And after many years, I decided to embrace my true calling in life: cooking, eating, and drinking.
Initially my focus was on BBQ’s because who doesn’t love a good BBQ? I’ve thrown many BBQ parties at my home in Silverlake and have even taken down some Texans in head to head competitions. I was a finalist in the LA Times Burger Challenge in 2011 and a winner in 2012 and 2013. So, I stand by my burgers.
But, I have begun to branch out. I’ve stepped away from the grill and back into the kitchen. I believe in good honest simple flavors. Less is more and with great ingredients you can let them speak for themselves. I believe in Bacon and Whiskey. And I believe staying true to yourself and your palate.
Now after many cookbooks and thousands of amazing dinners, I want to share my flavors with the world. Here you’ll find great restaurants or food/drink events that I’ve enjoyed. And I write about recipes that excite me or new beverages to enjoy.
These tend to be very wine and scotch heavy. And can you blame me? Living in California is like living in a wine dream! I now have my Advanced Certification with the WSET. I also passed my Certified Sommelier Exam with the Court of Master Sommeliers. So I have a lot of wine studies and training. I’ve also begun studies to learn winemaking at UC Davis, having recently passed my second semester in their winemaking program.
So if you love cooking and eating with a good drink to wash it down then pull up a chair and dig in!