Angelo Sosa – quite possibly the best-looking contestant on Top Chef, ever – spent two days in Dallas last week touring for his book, Flavor Exposed: 100 Global Recipes from Sweet to Salty, Earthy to Spicy. Also, he cooked at Private | Social with fellow Top Chef contestant and friend Tiffany Derry. Before Top Chef, Sosa spent the majority of his career working in New York with famed chef Jean-Georges. Later he traveled and ate his way through all of Asia and Europe, where his eating adventures have now influenced his cooking.
Where are you from?
Connecticut. A small town in Connecticut called Durham. Very much like a farm town – corn fields, similar to some towns in Texas.
When did you start cooking?
Cooking has definitely been part of my family. Half-Dominican, half-Italian. I come from a very big family – there’s nine of us. I have five sisters – five girls, two boys. My father was always about sustaining and improvising for the home, so I was always my father’s little helper.
Do your brothers and sisters cook?
They do. Definitely not as much as me. They’re lawyers, doctors. Definitely was somewhat of the black sheep – I embraced cooking.
Jump if you want more Angelo.
If you had to cook a meal for the Amazing Spiderman, what would you make?
I’m going to say something simple – just a pizza. I’m sure being at that level of, I don’t know, “fame-ism…” I’m sure he’d want something simple.
How has your experience on Top Chef changed you?
I mean, other than the grey hairs? (laughs) Top Chef was an amazing experience. It’s indicative of why I’m here with Tiffany Derry…we [created] really strong bonds [on Top Chef], really strong relationships. This book tour has been based upon my experiences with all of these top chefs. Definitely was an experience, mind-blowing – I think it’s a life-changing show. You learn how to look at yourself, better yourself. I wanted to be a better person.
Describe your perfect pizza.
Cheese pizza with kimchi. That’s it. Very simple.
Any guilty pleasure foods?
I’m obsessed with mint-chocolate chip ice cream. And I love take-out food.
How have your parents affected your cooking style?
One thing my parents taught me [was to] always keep cultural perspective. I never had typical lunches – you know, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I had pig’s feet, cow’s tongue sandwiches, olive loaf…like – what kid wants to eat this? That’s probably why I’m so skinny. It was definitely teaching me to be creative, because I didn’t want to eat those things – creativity, so I could feed myself and exposing me to new flavors.
What element influences you the most?
Definitely fire. Something spicy, something that’s bright, colorful – something that exudes heat.
Any last words?
It’s amazing to be in Dallas. I know I’m excited for tonight’s Private|Social dinner. Tiffany’s a close friend. One thing I’ve taken away from [Top Chef] – the whole concept of not compromising, going for your dreams [and] going for your goals. Living your life through your passion. I’m very passionate about food and telling my life story – my conviction.