Chef Q&A: Jason Gonsalves, Christini’s Ristorante Italiano

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Chef Jason Gonsalves’ French-inspired approach to cooking stems from years spent learning in Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurants across the United States. He now brings his culinary expertise to the award-winning Christini’s Ristorante Italiano, an Orlando culinary icon for 35 years.

What’s your favorite local restaurant other than your own (and why)? Victoria & Albert’s, as it is the only other true fine dining restaurant in Orlando.

What’s your go-to meal at home? I’m a simple, clean eater at home – chicken, quinoa, asparagus is a go-to simple dinner that offers great nutritional value and fresh tastes.

Where do you shop locally for interesting ingredients? The farmers market at Celebration and at Whole Foods Market.

Which kitchen gadget could you not live without? Microplane – for zesting, garlic and for getting super fresh flavors from nutmeg and cinnamon sticks

What was your favorite bagged lunch as a kid?  Chicken salad sandwich, homemade by mom.

What’s your most guilty junk-food pleasure?Pepperoni pizza – and it is a toss-up between Frank Pepe’s Pizza in Connecticut and Dani’s Pizza in Kew Gardens, NY.

What 3 things are in your fridge at all times? (And why do you need them?)Almond milk, fresh fruits and juices, chicken. My at-home food choices revolve around my fitness goals – you can trust a fit chef, especially one who knows where and how to indulge from time-to-time 😉

Is there anything else about yourself you’d like to share? For me, creating dishes is about the ingredients, about the flavors and about the aroma – food is an astounding thing. It can tell a story from the past, it can make memories in the present and it can inspire our futures. I love watching patrons experience the moments of an exquisitely prepared dish.

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