On the Line: Chef Mary Ann Giordano
Mary Ann Giordano has been cooking for Western New Yorkers at the Creekview for over a decade. A glance at her menu reads like a Wikipedia entry for classic American comfort food—club sandwich, tuna melt, liver and onions, strip steak, fried chicken. It may be tempting to dismiss such items in a world gone mad for highbrow chow and molecular gastronomy, but it’s no easy feat to deliver meals that every diner hopes will replicate a flavor and experience that has a foothold in their memory. Giordano’s own food memories are a big part of her professional life: Not only does she cook from the heart, but the passion she and her father share for the traditional St. Joseph’s Day feast has her hard at work on a cookbook featuring her take on the holiday’s traditional recipes.
Name: Mary Ann Giordano
Restaurant: Creekview Restaurant, 5629 Main St., Williamsville, 632-9373
Age: Does age really matter? Oh, all right, I’m 46.
Years behind the stove: More than twenty-five—that’s when I stopped counting.
What most guests don’t realize: How much work actually goes into preparing for each shift, how many people are behind the scenes cooking besides me. I have cooks in the restaurant starting at 6 a.m. and the work continues daily until after 11 at night.
What do you think is the biggest difference between a pro chef and a good home cook?
We have access to more resources (food and equipment) in our kitchen at one time. We cook ten to twelve hours a day, exercising our culinary brain and experimenting.
Favorite after work beverage: A nice glass of red wine.
Best LP to cook by: James Taylor’s Greatest Hits, or, if I’m cooking ethnic, I like to match my music to the food. With Southern food I’m gonna have good jazz—Nina Simone, Etta James. Italian is Favorite Mob Hits; Latino is Buena Vista Social Club, and with Caribbean it’s Bob Marley.
Restaurant I’m dying to try: The French Laundry.
Food no chef should love, but I do anyway: Plain cheeseburger.
What Buffalo’s food scene really needs is: I think that Buffalo has a great variety of local restaurants and talented chefs, but I’d love to see more Southern style and high-end Latino restaurants.
My go-to reference cookbook: I love to page through books for inspiration, especially at the beginning of a new season. Right now I have a stack of six or seven on my desk.
My favorite kitchen tool: I don’t have a favorite. If I don’t have what I need to do something, I adapt.
If I was buried in a graveyard of chefs, my tombstone would say: Thanks to all that died before. The things you taught me I adore. Hope I am standing at God’s door. Now who is going to pour?
Where do you go out to eat? I love to try different locally owned restaurants. My favorite new restaurant is The Delaware. I also love Betty’s, La Tee Da, Sample, Torches, and Orchid Asian Bistro in Kenmore.