Mike Isabella is the chef/owner of Graffiato in Washington, DC. A runner-up in season six of Top Chef All-Stars, he plans to open Bandolero, a modern Mexican restaurant, this spring in Georgetown. Later in the year, he will introduce his first cookbook, Flavors from a Jersey Italian.
Here are his ten thoughts:
1. One thing you don’t know about me is that I own a Chihuahua puppy named Santino.
2. If I could trade places with one chef it would be no one. I am very happy with who I am both personally and professionally. I have a beautiful wife, a successful restaurant and a great network in DC.
3. One of my most memorable meals was at Spiaggia in Chicago. They have one of my favorite dishes, potato gnocchi with ricotta sauce and Savini black truffles.
4. If there was no spaghetti with red sauce, I’d have no reason to live.
5. My go-to drink is bourbon, either Basil Hayden or Knob Creek.
6. If I were on death row my last meal would my grandmother’s gnocchi with gravy.
7. My worst culinary creation was chicken crusted with Fruity Pebbles, a dish I made for my nephew many years ago.
8. If I could change one thing about me I wish I was better at baseball.
9. My favorite junk food is Reese’s peanut butter cups.
10. If I wasn’t a restaurant operator, I’d love to be a tropical fish store owner.