Stories / Interviews

Ask a Chef: Michael Vignola

Emma Sarley

Emma Sarley

April 16, 2015


Michael Vignola of New York City hot spot Strip House will be cooking up a meat lovers' dream this Saturday, April 18. You don't want to miss this juicy affair at the Beard House coming up faster than you can grill a steak. Here are some of our favorite lines from an interview with this carnivore king:


What's your earliest food memory?
Some of my earliest food memories are Sunday dinners at my grandparents' house. Papa Jim and Nana Shirley always had a feast, whether it was Papa's baked clams or Nana's sauce. I was always around great fresh food that was cooked with love. My grandfather was the only man I knew who would be outside roasting peppers with snow on the ground.

What is your inspiration behind the menu for this Beard House event?
I wanted to showcase my own approach to ingredients and spins on classics with our modern steakhouse touch. I want people to see that Strip House isn't one of those old stalwarts but a current meat-centric temple. 

What’s your guilty-pleasure food? 
Milk and cookies—rainbow cookies to be precise. My family knows when you come over, you pay the rainbow cookie tax. 

If you could cook one meal for any person (historical, famous, living, or dead), who would be and what you serve them?
If I could cook for one person, it would be my father, Ronald James. My dad passed away when I was 16 and a less than studious young man. I wish he was still around to see how far his son has come. I know he was always proud of me, maybe because I reminded him so much of himself. I'm not sure what exactly we would eat but I can guarantee you, it would be a massively elaborate feast with seafood of all sorts, tons of charcuterie and cheese, a really vinegary salad, and a huge steak (my father once ate a 72-ounce steak in Austin, Texas) with creamed spinach, baked potatoes, and so on. We would cap it off with nothing but lemon ices from the Lemon Ice King of Corona and countless hours of stories and jokes.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Work hard, lead by example, and always stay on the line. 

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