Italian Chef Loves Cooking In Paradise

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The Rim Country's top culinary notables will share their talents for a benefit to raise money for the Payson Public Library expansion project.

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Gerardo Moceri, chef and co-owner of Cucina Paradiso will participate in A Taste of Rim Country, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 17 at the Tonto Apache Community Center.

The Library Friends of Payson and the Payson Roundup, will co-host this savory event, A Taste of Rim Country, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 17 at the Tonto Apache Community Center.

General admission tickets will be available in early January. Fifty percent of the ticket cost is tax-deductible. Funds raised will go toward the $1.4 million library expansion project, designed to fit the growing needs of Payson. The plan calls for a 5,500-square-foot wing stocked with wireless Internet access, 20 computer terminals and extra space.

Gerardo Moceri, owner of Cucina Paradiso, will be among those sharing their talents.

Chef profile: Gerardo Moceri from Cucina Paradiso

What is your favorite dish to cook?

Sicilian dishes that I learned to cook from my mother and grandparents.

What do you love to eat?

Asian food.

What is the most complicated dish you have ever made?

Any dish I don't like to make.

What inspired your love of food and cooking?

Seeing a passionate love for food while growing up.

When did you start cooking?

When I was able to stir the tomato sauce.

What is your worst cooking disaster?

I have had many so-called disasters, but I took each disaster as a challenge, so nobody knew what happened.

What is the hardest part about your job?

The long hours and being away from my family.

What do you love most about what you do?

Being able to teach others what was passed on to me by other chefs and family.

Do you have advice for someone who wants to start cooking?

Work as an apprentice for free to learn and study.

Is there a trade secret that every person who cooks should know?

Patience and passion for cooking.

What is in your refrigerator at home?

Yogurt, eggs and, of course, leftover food from The Wok.

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