Cooking Up American Cuisine with Chef Quagliata

Carmen Quagliata

Union Square Cafe, New York City

What better way to introduce young chefs to the culinary world of NYC than in the kitchen of New York’s nine-time Most Popular Restaurant? Campers will learn the cooking techniques behind the contemporary American cuisine served at Union Square Cafe with Chef Carmen Quagliata sharing his expertise and skill. A graduate from the Culinary Institute of America and no stranger to kitchens across the United States, Chef Carmen has had much experience combining his classical Italian training with seasonal ingredients that are local to a given place. Can’t wait to get into the kitchen? Our conversation with Chef Carmen gives us a taste of the flavorful summer ahead.

The Inside Scoop

When did you first realize you wanted to become a cook?

I was 16 and was a dishwasher in a restaurant. I was really fast! I was so fast the chef asked me to help prep. My senior year I needed to decide what I want to do for college so I spoke with that chef and he encouraged me to go to the Culinary Institute of America.

Why are you inspired to cook with kids?

I remember how impactful my food memories were as a kid, dishes from my childhood inspire the way I cook and teach the cooks in my kitchen today. The environment is so fragile and the way we cook and eat can affect farmers directly. Kids should know what they are eating, where it is coming from, and know that the food we purchase impacts many lives.

Are there any awards or accomplishments that you have received as a chef?

I have sent a great deal of cooks out into this world and some are very successful. When one of these chefs calls me to thank me for helping them grow, that is the best accomplishment.


What is the best part about having people eat your dishes?

Knowing I had a chance to make someone happy. Eating really good food can change your day. We work hard to make really great dishes and we hope that all our hard work can make someones day a little bit better.

Is there anything else that you would like Sprouts fans and food-lovers to know?

Don’t count on luck. Work hard and be prepared to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. Put yourself out of your comfort zone. Be the best you can, do not be afraid to fail. You can accomplish anything with hard work and confidence.