New Series: Portraits of Cooks

Today I am starting a new feature series on i am not a lawyer.

Portraits of Cooks” will be a series of photos of the men and women who do the real cooking behind kitchen doors – the cooks. The “star chef” conundrum has proven to be phenomenally profitable for many, including the Food Network and its posse. In the midst of all the Bobby Flays and Paula Deans, however, the faces of the people who actually prepare most of the food we eat at restaurants – the line cooks that tirelessly wash, chop, fry, stir and grill – are lost. The star chefs get all the acclaim and fame; this series will pay due regard to the owners of the calloused and burnt hands that too often remain unrecognized. This series connects food to face.

Whether I’m dining out in my favorite joints or discovering new spots, getting to know the cooks has been invaluable. Not only do you learn firsthand about the restaurant and the food, you build a deeper understanding of the restaurant industry and of the people who comprise it. Understanding the people behind the food is the first step in truly understanding food itself.

Meet our first cook, Jose Ventura of Famous Luigi’s Pizza. One of the oldest pizza joints in downtown DC, Luigi’s pizzas are made fresh and baked to perfection, never shy on the cheese. The handmade dough is actually the best part of their pies, thanks to Jose and his crew.


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