Name: Anna Barbara, Lead Line Cook, Baldanza

Location: Bedford, NY

What ingredients are you most excited to cook with and why? Chilis. Any kind. I think they can heighten a dish when used attentively. I have a love for chilis, the process of growing them and processing them, whether it be pickling, dehydrating or leaving them as is and throwing in a sauce, etc.

What are sustainable cooking practices you live by? Using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.

What’s a future project you’re excited about? Recently, I was fortunate enough to team up with great chefs and owners to re-open a restaurant in middle Westchester, NY. I’m super excited to be apart of the future expansion of The Restaurant North brand.

How do you change menus in order to change lives? Well, for myself it’s about learning. From a professional stand point and cooking with different ingredients, I’m changing my own life. From a guest’s point, they’re being open to the possibilities that there is with different ingredients. It’s our job to nourish, open the door to peoples’ palettes and show them the variance of ingredients.

What is your advice for chefs in similar roles? Stay humble. Listen to your chef. Never stop learning. Think like a chef. Stay focused. Never get comfortable. Always have fun.

What are your thoughts on minimizing food waste? I think it’s an easy fix that many aren’t aware of. Shopping smart and realistically. Don’t over-serve. Treat expirations and sell-by dates as guidelines. Recycle.