On the Line: Bruno Serato of Anaheim White House, Part One

In the first 30 minutes after sitting down with Bruno Serato, he received a text from a major pasta company wanting to donate, a group of ladies handing a check as they headed in for their holiday lunch, a call from a supermodel wanting to help his cause, and another group that mentioned purchasing 200 of his books to give to clients as gifts. To say that there has been an outpouring of support for his desire to feed homeless motel kids is an understatement. “When you walk through the door, you are supporting the kids.”, he stated, as the packed house spoke for itself. Not only during the season of giving, but every night, Bruno cooks and serves a full dinner to hundreds. I am honored to sit down with such a humble individual and wrap up 2011 going over his questionnaire.

What are six words to describe your food?
Italian, artistic, classic, wow, traditional and buonissimo.

What are eight words to describe you?
Kind, funny, gentle, classy, humanitarian, family-oriented, great host.


Your best recent food find:

Harissa–a Moroccan spice. My friend from Algeria introduced it to me. I use it in our rack of lamb.

Most undervalued ingredient:
Balsamic vinegar. People do not know the history behind it. It goes back to the 17th century. Royalty would pour it over fruit. It also works well over ice cream.

Rules of conduct in your kitchen:
Clean, fast, efficient.

One food you detest.
Tacos. They smell bad.

One food you can't live without.
Pasta. I love it.

Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Local support, like people in a small village.

What fast food do you admit to eating?
None. I don't like fast food.

Best culinary tip for the home cook:

After-work hangout:
Home. Cooking dinner for friends.

Favorite celebrity chef:
Joel Robuchon. Beset chef in the world.

Celebrity chef who should shut up.
Ramsey. He's just a showman.

Favorite music to cook by:
Madonna. You can cook and vogue at the same time.

Best food city in America:
San Francisco and New York City. Customers are very knowledgeable in both. SF people know the best places in each neighborhood. Orange County residents want to know where the closest ones are.

What you'd like to see more of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint.
We have what we need already.

What you'd like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint.
Less fake restaurants who classify themselves as Italian or French and have nothing to do with it.

Favorite cookbooks:
Temptation at The White House (by me).

When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Hosting my customers.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
Kangaroo and snake.

You're making breakfast. What are you having?
(Egg) White omelette, decaf coffee.

You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
Pasta. Never leave home without it. And garlic.

Weirdest customer request (and did you do it?):
Ordering a Grand Marnier souffle for an appetizer instead of dessert. It's happened twice. We served it (after making fun of them).

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