Meet Chef Joey Fazio
Chef Joey grew up helping his mom in the kitchen and got his first job in high school at a local pizzeria. He spent his early career working as a Sous Chef and Chef de Cuisine in popular Upstate South Carolina restaurants – including Ristorante Bergamo, Stellar Restaurant & Wine Bar and The Owl – where he learned the culinary trade from some of the region’s most well-established chefs.
HOW HAS BEING A PROFESSIONAL CHEF CHANGED YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FOOD YOU EAT?
I’ve become more aware of my food’s origins and, especially, how animals are raised, which makes me a more responsible, conscientious consumer. Farm-to-table is always ideal, but not always easily attainable. Commercially raised livestock aren’t always treated humanely – I struggled with this in my early 20s and spent almost eight years as a vegetarian.
WHAT DO YOU MOST LOVE TO COOK AT HOME? AT THE CLIFFS?
I rarely cook at home but when I do, the focus is more about who I’m cooking with rather than what I’m making. My 12-year-old daughter enjoys cooking and it’s always fun to spend time in the kitchen with her. At The Cliffs, I love preparing wine dinners and special events. I like the attention to detail that is required and I appreciate the opportunity to use ingredients that are not always practical on a daily menu.
DO YOU HAVE A CELEBRITY CHEF CRUSH AND, IF SO, WHO?
Massimo Bottura, an Italian restaurateur whose 3-Michelin-star restaurant, Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy, has been in the top 5 at The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards since 2010. Massimo defines his food as “traditional Italian, but seen from 10 miles away” … this reinvention of classic dishes could be viewed by purists as blasphemous, but his 35-seat restaurant gets requests for 125+ reservations every day. The way he prepares and plates his dishes in whimsical and playful styles really speaks to me. Sometimes food is taken way too seriously and becomes pretentious, particularly certain cuisines. Massimo irreverently thumbs his nose at that notion and I absolutely love it.
Authentic Italian Pomodoro Sauce from Bergamom, Italy
“This is a recipe that I frequently use at home as well as The Cliffs – but I cannot take credit for
perfecting it. I spent several years as Sous Chef at Ristorante Bergamo in downtown Greenville; the chef is a native of Bergamom Italy, and this is how he makes his pomodoro sauce.”