Chef Scott Fratangelo Of L’inizio Shows Us His Fridge
What does a professional chef keep in his refrigerator? And what isn’t allowed in there? Read on to find out.
What could you make for dinner from your current fridge contents if, say, the in-laws showed up unexpectedly?
There’s some pork headcheese I’d pair with kimchi—homemade, courtesy of my friend Kat’s mother—for an appetizer. Then coppa [Italian cured meat], feta, and ramps as a base for a pasta-dish entrée.
Anything really old or of unknown origins in there?
There’s a pint container labeled as ‘clam butter’ from the restaurant, but it’s not; some sort of brown-colored balsamic-based marinade is inside…
Is every area designated for certain things, or is it more of a free-for-all?
Liquids on top-left and pint containers on top-right, dairy in the middle, anything green in drawers, and the doors are loaded with jars that lean Asian.
Rate your fridge from 1 [an ungodly mess] to 10 [I may have OCD].
Too many hands in the pot, so I’d say a five. My daughters [Chiara, 4, and Emilia, 7] like to start projects. Currently, it’s making smoothies.
Fussy about any staple being organic, fair trade, et cetera?
I’m on the fence about buying organic, as I don’t trust the certification process. More important than organic is buying local—we get our milk from the Hudson Milk Company [in Shrub Oak] and produce from Blooming Hill Farm [Monroe, New York] and Hemlock Hill Farm [Cortlandt Manor].
Anything not allowed in your fridge?
Soda. My kids have had it but aren’t going crazy for it. They’re happy with water, fruit juice, or lemonade.
Random/unusual items in door shelf?
Kwong Hung Seng sweet soy sauce that I bought in the City; I use it as part of a lemon-based marinade for grilled chicken, which gives it a different dimension. Also, Huy Fong Foods Sambal Oelek, a ground chili paste I use in eggs, hummus [Sabra brand], and sandwiches, and Golden Boy Fish Sauce from Thailand that’s good in fried rice. My kids will try these dishes, but I spice it down for them.
Is your family more carnivorous or herbivorous?
A mix. The kids love salad, which I’m happy about, but meat, too. And I tell them where meat comes from. ‘Cuter the better!’ I joke. They’re like, ‘Daaad!’
Romaine hearts, Muscat grapes, and avocado [I eat one a day!].
How’s the dairy situation?
Battenkill Valley Creamery milk. That’s whole milk—like the flavor—can’t beat it. Also, a quart of heavy cream for whipped cream when my wife Heather makes scones or cheesecake.
What else are the Fratangelos drinking?
Tropicana OJ, pink grapefruit Italian soda, and a couple Pilsners.
Let’s talk the really cold stuff, as in 32°F and below.
I’ll freeze meat but prefer not to. Unless you let it thaw properly, it loses too much blood and that affects your ability to tell its doneness when cooking. So there might not be meat always, but we’ll have ice cream—whatever A&P’s rocking, but never pistachio, as Emelia has a major pistachio allergy. The girls love Turkey Hill Cookie Dough. Unless we go to Carvel, then they’ll have cotton-candy ice cream—that’s right, no soda for my girls, but cotton-candy ice cream!
What’s your favorite item hanging on the refrigerator?
There’s a magnet with measuring conversions—cup to ounce to tablespoon to teaspoon to milliliters—that’s a cool reference tool, but my favorite thing would be a photo of me cradling Chiara’s head just after she was born.
And on top of the fridge?
Empty Hemlock Hill crates to return; a spindle to my steps my kids broke. I’ll fix it, as I like to tinker—there’s always something to be tinkered with around my house.
What’s in that garage fridge?
It’s an overflow fridge, mostly for beverages. The current contents include a case of Pepsi [if guests come over], a chunk of smoked pecorino in a quart container, a Smuttynose beer, a Mike’s Hard Limeade, and Effervé Sparkling Lemonade. There’s usually more, but because it’s a detached garage and in the cold winter everything was freezing, I stopped filling it.