Chris' Dad was an accomplished jazz saxophone musician. As a young boy, he remembers the “gigs” in the basement with shady guys named Gus and Louie who would get their jam on with his father for all hours of the day and night. In honor of having never mastered an instrument, or perhaps homage to his father, the name “Culinary Concerts” was created in 1985.
At an early age Chris honed his taste buds on the family mashed potatoes with a Sunbeam mix master. At age 15, his first job was as a “cook” at a popular pizza / Italian restaurant called Sybill Creek. From there and through high school, he worked at two popular gathering places perfecting Greek salads, pastas, Beef Bourguignonne, seafood, steaks, and the highly technical “short order.”
After a six month and exciting opportunity working in Saudi Arabia as a job coordinator, he returned home and began work as a lead cook at Howard Johnson’s for two years - where coincidentally, Jacques Pepin was the Corporate Chef. Years later, he would help Jacques and Julia Child with their programs for PBS as a kitchen support chef.
Chris accepted a one year position at the Mercy Conference-Retreat Center in Madison followed by restaurant work in New Haven (Whistlers), Middletown (The Inn) and later on the UCONN Health Center where he cooked for a flash mob of 2,500 every day.
For the next five years Chris was the lead Chef at The Mercy Center and studied at the Hotel & Restaurant program at the University of New Haven for two years. He aced all of his courses except one. It was also at Mercy where he first began work in catering.
Chris also became involved with the local chapter of a professional chef’s organization, The Connecticut Shoreline Chef’s Association, which was accredited by the American Culinary Federation. He organized several successful fund-raisers, produced and performed cooking demonstrations, chaired committees, wrote and photographed for the group newsletter, and served as secretary and vice president on the board. He was mentored by Chef Daniel Varano – a Culinary Arts Instructor and United States Culinary Team member.
Chris continued studies in the areas of cooking, nutrition, and sanitation, and in 1985, he earned the status as a Certified Working Chef (Chef With Credentials a future client would lament), and in 1988, advanced to Certified Executive Chef. The Culinary Institute of America’s Certified Master Chefs (twenty-four individuals in the country) were accredited by the same program.
In 1989, Chris was honored to receive the Chef of the Year award from his peers. It was at this time he left employment at Mercy to start Culinary Concerts,inc. Later that same year, Chris set the Guinness World Record for Omelet Making: 379 in 30 minutes while the Culinary Concerts team catered brunch for the 400 guests at that unique event.