Jan. 23, 2022

Part II Magic in The Kitchen with The Singing Chef™


Andy LoRusso is known all over the globe as The Singing Chef and is a best selling author, recording artists Celebrity Chef and entertainer. He's performed and cooked for 1000s of people on stage in places all over the world, including the Isle of Wight Festival in England, Istanbul and even in my hometown, Seattle, Washington. He's become a great friend and he has an incredible story to tell. He is a passionate supporter and advocate for The Dystonia-Foundation.

I’n Part II we continue along Andy LoRusso’s journey and discover how he shaped his career combining his love of cooking and singing. He poured his heart and soul into creating a career as The Singing Chef. He shares stories about meeting Emeril Lagasse, Julia Child and Sting at The Isle of Wight festival and meeting Martin Yan. Pull up a virtual seat at our chefs table as we connect with Celebrity Chef Andy LoRusso.

Connect to: http://www.singingchef.com

Support:https://dystonia-foundation.org/

Our website: https://www.voice4chefs.com/

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/MichaelDugan)

Transcript

Michael Dugan:

In Part II we continue along Andy LoRussos journey and discover how he shaped his career combining his love of cooking and singing. He poured his heart and soul into creating a career as The Singing Chef. He shares stories about meeting Emeril Lagasse, Julia Child and Sting at The Isle of Wight festival. Pull up a virtual seat at our chefs table as we connect with Celebrity Chef Andy LoRusso. So, as we move on, did you study to become a singer Did you study to become a cook did you go to school? Did you do anything unique?

Andy LoRusso:

Well regarding my singing when I decided to put the cookbook together with the audio tape, which came out in 1991 I was still singing nightclub gigs or small bars and restaurants with a trio I'm still seeing standards, you know like misty and different things like that and but I wanted to sing. I wanted to learn some of the areas that I wanted to put on the audio tape that came with my cookbook because I wanted the people to sing while they were cooking. Again, this was a miracle that happened. I was getting a chiropractic adjustment up in Ohio where I was living at the time. Ohi California, which is north of Santa Barbara, inland in the mountains where the orange groves are and the beautiful smell of fresh lemon trees and things like that up in the hills. At the chiropractic adjustment, the chiropractor, very nice lady. She was very, very successful, well known chiropractor asked me what I was doing and you know what I wanted to achieve and so on and so forth. I told her I was putting the cookbook together and I was putting some music together and I had the arranger pretty much thought of and she said well you know there's a lady in the next room that is getting massage. Her name is Wendy and she's studying with this famous opera coach. Maybe you should talk with her after you finish I did. I ended up talking with this lady. Her name was Wendy and I told her that I was putting in a CD, audio tape together at this songs in mind. And I wanted to get a vocal coach and she says well, I'm studying with one of the top vocal coaches so she was she's 88 years young home I was with the Metropolitan Opera. She knew Enrico Caruso her family did and she studied she traveled with Mary Alonza, Doris Duke of the tobacco fame. And she's only takes a few amount of students and I said to her well, I said, When can I see? Or she says well, I'll have to ask her. I said what's her name? She had Giovanni Giovanni D'Onofrio, and she lives in Ventura which was about a half hour down south south of where I was in Ohi. So she called me back the next day she says Giovanna will love to see you love to meet you bring a couple songs and you can demo sing for her. So I drove down to ventura california open the door and there was this beautifully dressed 88 year young I would say very filled with life pearls. Earrings, hair was very nicely done with nail polish and sitting at the piano and she said come on Andrew. No. And I said, Oh my god, Giovanni. I'm so happy to see you. I'm so excited. She says Andrew, let me tell you one things is first of all, excitement and Italian are one word. Believe it and then she said to me. And then she said to me. I want you to listen to what I'm going to teach. You now I want you to forget whatever anybody else has ever taught you and just listen to what I say. And I want you to go out and I want you to sing beautifully because every note has a life of its own. It's a metaphysical she was very metaphysical. She says every note that you sing stays in the ethers and travels through space. So go out and sing beautifully in touch people's hearts, with your music with your notes with your voice. And I'll always remember that so that's where she had helped me develop my Belcanto skills or you know my breathing so to speak taught me about different parts of the body, the cheeks, the cheekbones, the muscles of the face, the back of the chest that the whole thing. Opening up the the nostrils, the the ears, the whole ortho language, laryngology type of thing, but she was very wonderful and I was very fortunate to be under her tutelage while I was learning the songs that I put on my audio tape. O Sole Mio, Santa Lucia Valare, Non Ti Scordar di Me, Funicul Funicul. Learning some of those songs from some of the Pavarati audio tapes that I had and singing along with them. So that was that's what that's how it really started so that was pretty much my my vocal career lessons. Regarding my cooking it was always around grandma boys around my dad. Always around my mom. I took a couple classes you know, very, very small. My daughter was the one my daughter Betty who was given up for adoption. I found her after 30 years of being apart. She went to the Culinary Institute of America and I found her it was a real unbelievable joy to know that she was also a chef and working as a chef and pinions and Aspen, Colorado. When I met her she she's very very much trained classically in cooking, cooking. However, for me, it was sort of like a Rachael Ray, you know, trained and, you know, local classes possibly of course, grandma's apron strings, and just learning from my hands, so on and so forth. And then traveling, you know, working with other chefs and in some kitchens, you know, like in Istanbul or maybe in Italy, Canada, especially when I did some shows in Canada, working with some of the shifts there and learning some of their techniques and skills. Wonderful. That is really amazing that you got to travel around the world. And I know you've met some amazing chefs. Can you share a little bit about that? Well, basically, you know, I met emerald before this the Food Network really blew up his career. He was at a Fancy Food Show in Las Vegas, and he was very it was just really just before he was just starting to take off Food Network. So I've met in Emeril and of course, living in Santa Barbara. I had the occasion to run into Julia Child who was always at the farmers markets, tasting food that the the organic vendors would farmers would give her to taste and also you know talking with her giving her a copy of my first cookbook with the audio tape meeting her at the local the Angelo's bakery. Having a Croisant and a Cupuciinno being with her associates and our assistants. So Julia was a real, real blessing to see her you know in person in Santa Barbara as well. She's an inspiration to so many just just her world and working at some of the Italian festivals. I met Marianne Esposito, who's a wonderful chef at the Milwaukee festa italiana where I used to do a couple of years in a row she was there. And another gentleman very famous Italian chef from Italy must some of her to think his last name. Oh, yes. You met him. Wow. Yeah, amazing, man. Okay, he did. He was on the chef stage, you know, in between shows with me doing his thing. I met Martin Yan. I used to watch Martin Yeah, Martin. Yeah, yeah, Yan Yan can cook and I would always watch him D bone or cut up the chicken in less than 16 seconds. It was amazing. It was like, Okay. Well, he was a very nice man. He loved my double chocolate almond biscotti, because that's what I was making for my chef demo. Then when I was in Canada, I met some luminary chefs up there that were working in a chain of hotels, a very popular don't remember the name of the chain of hotels. They were all across Canada. And some of the chefs have their recipes and a cookbook that they gave us a coffee top table book, very beautifully done heart cover, color photos and everything. Working in that capacity when I was doing the shows in Calgary at the Calgary Stampede. I did two years there. And we also had a chef stage there where I met some wonderful chefs that traveled around the world that were invited to cook at the Calgary Stampede. So you know of course these last 30 years I met some what that especially when I went to Istanbul. The top chefs there were just phenomenal. Working as tandem in a chain of very high end restaurants. And we became good buddies. We still talk on Facebook and social platforms. They were very, very wonderful to meet them in Istanbul to see their techniques and you know, learn from you know what they were using. And of course they all love singing with me and yeah, it's been a really wild wild ride for sure. Sounds like it Andy Clough an amazing storyteller.

Michael Dugan:

I love how you can paint a picture and it's almost like we're there with you. I mean, I've really feel that and I've interviewed a lot of people and it just it's such a skill to be able to do that. I can imagine being at one of your shows and just walking away feeling truly inspired.

Andy LoRusso:

Well I just posted a photo that was taken to me I did an event I love to do fundraisers and hopefully I'll be able to do some more fundraisers since the pandemic is slowly opening up venues and stuff. I did a fundraiser for the Marco Island Art Center, which is about 30 minutes south of Naples where I live at the Art Center. They had the actual fundraiser at Marriott Hotel, beautiful hotel that's on the beach and Marco Island now after $40 million renovation so they had the fundraiser there and at the event. Usually during my show I sing most of the songs that are on my CD tomorrow a CD I was singing Sorento, what I usually do is I usually go out during that time people are just in the middle of their main course dinner. And I went up to this couple and I put them pull them both together. They were selling estimate but they were celebrating their 40th or 45th anniversary was I asked them how they met and they each shared their stories, somewhat a little bit different than each other. I asked them when they were had their first kiss. You know, how many grandkids they have, I mean children and grandchildren and then I sing I said, Well, how would you like to go to server Sorento with me? And they say, oh, yeah, I said well, only musically I can do it. Yes, I sang to Turna Sorrento and the photographer took a picture and ended up the next day on the front page of the Marco Island are Islander. So that's one of the photos that I I just posted. I just came across that photo. I'll have to look at it. I know I have a true confession here.

Michael Dugan:

I'm not stalking you, but I follow you and I read I've been digging in like, like it's a book on your site and the resources because I'm just fascinated by all the things that you've done and in the people that you've honored.

Andy LoRusso:

Well, you know, the singing part of it too, really opens up the heart. When I feel when I get everybody to sing along with me. The whole room becomes your family. I mean the words are usually doing my big shows or fundraising. They're up on the screen with beautiful images of Italy. So there's like a crawl on either top or the bottom of the screen because it's on the top of the screen and crawl, which is a moving line of words and they sing along with me Chris they're eating the recipes they're eating the menu is from my cookbooks. I can't wait to get back again doing that. Doing that Mike home performing live audiences. I mean, it's really a big part of my my existence now.

Michael Dugan:

Well, when you get to Seattle, let me know because we're definitely coming. Yeah, well, I did some of the casinos in Seattle. So moving on. I have a place in our show that I'd love to share. It's called let's get cooking. In your travels, you've been all over the world. Is there any special place that you've been? That you had amazing meals that you could share? I would say what comes to mind real quickly was when I was in Istanbul. They had the Turkish Delight. I never seen pastries and cakes and pies in one place.

Andy LoRusso:

That I had in this one cafe that I would go have my breakfast and most mornings before the evening. Should these my shows are in the evening in this cafe in Istanbul actually the restaurant across the street. But when I walked into this cafe and I saw these amazing Turkish Delight pastries, cakes and pies and cookies, it was colorfulness the color that they use in the displays they was like being in a jewelry shop for pastries, how they displayed their wares. It was so incredible. That was one of the big highlights as well as my breakfast and Turkey. The Turkish breakfast and one of the big hotels that they put me up in with the cheeses and the grapes, the fruits cooked items. The entrees of course the eggs, vegetables, potatoes, honey, the teas and Turkish teas and coffees. I've never seen anything like for breakfast. Needless to say I stayed there for a couple of hours relaxing out and eating as much as I can. And then when I was in the Isle of Wight Festival when I was performing a sting in the police were the main key the A listers, so to speak there and I was on a smaller stage. The Chef's cooked for all the talent and they usually had a separate tent that the celebrity appearances The the rock'n'roll guys and whoever was performing go into these big tents and they would lay out a buffet to end no buffets. For the eating and the chefs that they hired using were chefs from from London or England you know of course the corresponds has been the bay whatever it was fully get there by putting your car on a ferry. That's how you got to the other way, but they would they would make these tremendous, tremendous dishes and trays for the the performers that I never seen anything like and I befriended a few of those chefs, one of which were was my shoes sous chef during my two shows that I did at the Isle of Wight Festival and I'm still in touch with them these days through social media, other amazing meals while I was working and performing those, those are the ones that really came right to my mind that were just outstanding. Working in the Istanbul the Calgary the Calgary Stampede area working with those chefs on the Isle of Wight Festival. was just so fantastic amount of creativity in the shifts that he made along the way. That absolutely sounds incredible.

Michael Dugan:

The other piece I wanted to touch on is as you've traveled around the world for our listeners, my favorite place to travel in the world was Sardinia and that's where we had our honeymoon and it was just unbelievable experience for you. You've traveled to a lot of places around the world can you give us a couple that you would recommend that our listeners could challenging?

Andy LoRusso:

In Italy I've only been at this time round venture the Milan area I love the Milan area was very cool. It was in January I just got back from a yoga class with 2000 people there up and pull you up in Pisa actually but I enjoyed the northern area very much we went to FIT NC to Venice, very much enjoyed that. I hadn't been yet into the south which I'm going to go in 2022 Not only as in my family, but also to go to full yet and enjoy some of my friends down there who have an olive oil, vineyard Grove olive row where they make olive oils, and also a restaurant which I hope to sing at when I'm out there in Italy but i would i would highly recommend you know Italy, all parts of it all places. All Seasons get your fill in every single place you can find regionally in Italy as much as possible. I haven't been to Sicily and of them My grandparents came from there hadn't been the Isha or some of the islands like you had been off the coast of Capri. Oh yeah, we use there. But I would definitely recommend going all those places for sure. Those are really really good recommendations. So if you're listening I would highly recommend that you taking these advice.

Michael Dugan:

So as as we're cooking along Can you describe a couple of your favorite recipes that you cook?

Andy LoRusso:

One of my most sought after desserts by Dolce is the ricotta cheese cake which I Americanize it so to speak, grandma would sometimes put the latticework on it. Sometimes you put the graham cracker crust on the bottom. Sometimes you would put the Citron's in it but I left out all of that and I just make it with a six eighths Rinella cup of sugar, half a cup of flour, fresh ricotta cheese, and then I put the chocolate chips in it. The orange s and the juice of one orange put it in a 10 inch springform pan baking in an oven 100 350 degree over for about an hour hour 10 minutes let it sit on the wreck chill and then server with either strawberry sauce or raspberry sauce over powdered sugar. That's really one of my premier donuts and desserts double chocolate almond espresso Piscotty which I'll probably get up to gear up to make around the holidays now coming up. That is another one of my favorite cookies biscotti to make. I always love doing branzino which is a wonderful fish that's been gutted out using it's a bass, sea bass and nice and fresh and you know stuff with lemons and garlic and parsley. Scales really nicely made Sicilian way with Sicilian olives, green olives, black olives, lemons, olive oil, salt and pepper and baking in the oven for maybe 15 minutes and taking that out. That's another one of my specialties as well as a plain Parmesan. Oh yeah, and all these recipes can be found on seeing chef.com my website for sure as we wrap up this show.

Michael Dugan:

Do you have any special message for us and how can we support you in the community at large? Well, I think at this point in my life at this point in my career, and now that I have my my sources out on my website, and hopefully to be in local stores all over the country. I'm working on that.

Andy LoRusso:

The fact of the matter is a portion of the sales go to the Distonia Medical Research Foundation in Chicago to help find a cure so I guess it's telling people more about having people experience my sauces ordering them, enjoying them sharing with their people creating a community around the cooking experience using my sauces in the recipe some of which are on my website. Because every every jar every case every three pack six pack 12 Pack. That's sold there will be a portion going to help find a cure for this disease that's been around a long time called Dystonia. At this point in my career, I would encourage people to share with other people the possibilities, especially around the holidays, whether it's February that's coming up for Valentine's Day, whatever it might be to give a gift which keeps on giving in terms of you know, getting those sauces and really enjoying them at the same time being able to give back and hopefully find a cure and on your site to have so many recipes that you can use those sauces with. Yes there there are suggested recipes for sure. If one is stuck, they can just go to seeing a chef calm and they can enjoy right out of the jar fresh home cooked flavor with no MSG and all natural ingredients and just very flavorful flavorful tastes of my pasta sauces for sure. And sings f.com is a really great website. There's so many stories there. There's recipes. There's all kinds of information that will entertain and educate you.

Michael Dugan:

Well Andy, I just want to thank you so much for coming on the show. It's truly an honor to spend time with you. And Voice4Chefs is really about giving chefs a voice and as a celebrity chef, I think that you are truly a voice first thank you so much. My goal was wonderful meeting you and your wife and seeing some of the friends that are birthday celebration and we are now all connected. We are now what they say familia.

Andy LoRusso:

We are in each other's hearts in each other's minds soon to be in each other's stomachs. Oh yeah, food wise. It's it's a total total sensual experience.

Michael Dugan:

I have to agree with you and and I do want to say thank you so much for for coming to my wife's Carrie surprise party and and you let us in song and she's still singing that's A'more every day. With a lot of expression I might add was wonderful meeting you and your wife and seeing some of the friends at her birthday celebration and we are now all connected. We are now with this a familia.

Andy LoRusso:

We are in each other's hearts and each other's minds soon to be in each other's stomachs. Oh yeah, food wise. It's it's a total total sensual experience.