One thing you don't know about me is that I'm a very private person.
I'm most proud of my children. I never thought I had the material to be a father, but I have three great children.
One of my most memorable meals was at Lorenzo restaurant at Forte dei Marmi, Italy. There I ate local whitebait (herring), flash-fried pasta with sea urchin roe and lemon, a local red snapper-like fish braised in lobster stock and served with tiny cockles and julienned zucchini. I finished the meal with one of my favorite desserts — aged Tuscan pecorino sheep cheese with chestnut honey.
If there was no pasta, I'd have no reason to live.
My go-to drink is always wine. Right now I'm loving Northern Italian chardonnays and mostly Sicilian reds.
If I were on death row my last meal would be … Spaghetti Con Aglio Olio, E Peperoncino (Garlic, Olive Oil and Pepper Flakes) with smoked herring roe.
The thing I hate most about this business is that success doesn't carry to the day after. Every day you feel like you have to start from scratch if you want to stay on top. It's a business that doesn't have forgiveness.
If I could change one thing about me it would be that sometimes I can be very outspoken. I am who I am, and wouldn't really want to change, but I wish I could count to three sometimes before speaking my mind.
My idea of a perfect day is getting up early like I do every day around 6:30 a.m., having a cup of coffee with my wife and kids, then play a great game of squash, followed by watching a European soccer match. Finally, I'd have dinner with my family and close friends.
If I wasn't a restaurant operator, I'd love to be an art director for the theater.
Pino Luongo has owned and operated several restaurants in New York, the Hamptons, and Chicago. He opened his first restaurant, Il Cantinori, in 1983 and went on to open several other highly regarded restaurants, including Sapore di Mare, Le Madri, and Coco Pazzo. He is currently the chef/owner of Centolire in New York City and is the author of Dirty Dishes: A Restaurateur's Story of Passion, Pain and Pasta.