Article written by Wooden Paddle and originally appeared in a Wooden Paddle e-blast on January 25, although we deleted the emojis from this page.

Unless you’ve been straight up living under a rock, you’ve seen our all-new menu, full of major gastronomic razzle dazzle. But have you met the artiste behind it all?

He’s been on Hell’s Kitchen with Gordon Ramsay. He won Alton Brown’s Cutthroat Kitchen. He camps outside *for fun* and eats only what he catches.  And he’s successfully made ice cream in a concrete mixer. Bruh.

And now, he’s in the Wooden Paddle kitchen! *Pinch us.*

We are beyond pumped and delighted to introduce our new Culinary Director, Chef Patrick Cassata!

Headshot of Chef Patrick Cassata

We sat down with Chef for a chat! What follows is his advice for home cooks who always burn the shite out of things make things *extra crispy*, what a real chef’s final supper looks like, and a lesson in proper bread cutting (yes boo, there’s a way). All the juicy deets below. ⤵

WP: What do you do for fun, when you’re not working?

CP: Fishing – it’s my favorite thing to do. I like to catch and cook!

WP: What’s your earliest memory around food?

CP: My Grandfather Cassata cutting bread. He demonstrated how to slice a loaf of Italian bread for sandwiches so you don’t crush it. You tap it, then slice gently in a sawing motion.

WP: Why did you decide to become a chef?

CP: I always viewed food with a passion. Making a pb&j was not as simple to me as it was to others. It had to be perfectly and evenly spread with equal parts peanut butter and jelly, preferably strawberry preserves or apricot.

WP: What’s the most memorable meal you’ve ever eaten?

CP: Eating Christmas raviolis this year, they were absolutely perfect!

WP: What’s your favorite meal right now?

CP: Hot dogs, there’s just nothing better than crushing three Gene & Jude’s hot dogs with fries.

WP: Is there any food you won’t eat?

CP: I prefer not to eat reproductive organs, but everything else from insects to brains is all good to me!

WP: And what would be your last meal, like ever ever?

CP: Hot dogs, raviolis, golapki, french fries, and an ice cold Hamm’s!

WP: What was your very first job?

CP: McDonald’s. My father told me I was heading for trouble at 15, so he made me get a job. I went into McDonald’s on Harlem Ave thinking I would work the counter or drive-thru window, but they put me in the kitchen. I picked it up quickly, and began my career in cooking!

WP: And what was your hardest job?

CP: Working at Relish restaurant. Chef Ron was an uncompromising prick of a Chef – he yelled, screamed, broke plates at our feet, and if a dish wasn’t just right, he smashed the plate full of food into our chest.

WP: What achievements are you most proud of in your career, so far?

CP: All of them! Multiple three-star reviews from restaurant critic Phil Vettel, voted #1 best campus food in the nation while at Wheaton College – they all speak to the dedication I have to honing my craft, as well as building killer teams!

WP: Any cheffy advice for home cooks?

CP: Honestly, relax and have fun! But always read any recipe ahead of time, before you start to cook. This can take away some of the anxiety as things progress, so you’re not trying to read the recipe while things are burning / cooking!

For more information on Wooden Paddle, visit them online at https://www.woodenpaddle.com or https://www.facebook.com/WoodenPaddlePizza.

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