What was your first job in a kitchen?
At the age of 15, my Dad told me I was a punk and to go get a job. So I went to the local McDonald's, lied about my age and began flipping burgers.
What is the first dish you ever mastered?
Chile Rellenos. And NOT like a gringo!
What is your signature dish?
Seared Broken Arrow Ranch Black Buck Antelope Loin
Any stories of triumph from the kitchen? Disaster?
I received 3-star reviews from both The Chicago Tribune and The Chicago Sun-Times at my very own restaurant. Triumph. Only to take a second full-time Executive Chef position just to be able to bring home a paycheck. I had to stop bouncing paychecks to myself! Disaster. By the way, that second restaurant also received 3-star reviews and was one of the "Best New Restaurants" in Chicago Magazine. Triumph. I was putting in 100 hours a week, which didn't leave me much time to be with my young family. Exhausted.
Who was your first cooking inspiration?
My great grandmother Jerzyk, who made leftovers out of leftovers. Her pierogis and golapkis are still the best I've ever tasted. My papa Casey gave me an appreciation for food. He showed me how to slice a loaf of bread without crushing it, how wonderful a tomato smelled fresh off the vine, and how to eat with my front teeth to experience tastes I didnít even know existed.
What's the one piece of advice you took away from Hell's Kitchen?
Real men wear aprons!
FOX Broadcasting Company - Patrick Cassata - Hell's Kitchen on FOX - Official Site