With a British mom, an Italian dad, a French stepfather, culinary apprenticeships in France, and a hometown of Buenos Aires, Executive Chef Tomas di Gregorio had a rich and varied culinary perspective when Sam Silvio, managing partner of Piropos Restaurant, and the owners, tried his food in Buenos Aires. di Gregorio then helped open Piropos in 2001. He was later a pastry chef for The Café (Briarcliff Village) and helped open restaurants in Minneapolis and Jefferson City, plus Kansas City’s bluestem and the American Restaurant. di Gregorio then arrived at Em Chamas Brazilian Grill within a week after the February 2007 opening. “I couldn’t say no to Sam,” he says.
He enjoys leading the Em Chamas kitchen. “A great leader without a great crew is nothing and a great crew without a great leader is nothing,” di Gregorio says. But he still does a lot of prep work and emphasizes cleanliness. (Em Chamas recently received a perfect health department score) di Gregorio also believes food freshness is key. “If you treat food with respect it will taste great,” he says.
Makes 2 large servings
2.5 cups artichoke hearts, quartered.
½ cup red onion, thinly sliced.
3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves.
1 tomato cut in wedges
¼ cup Italian dressing (your choice)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Arrange tomato wedges in a crown shape on the serving plate. Add remaining ingredients to a mixing bowl, saving cilantro for last. Mix ingredients gently and place in center of tomato crown. Sprinkle cilantro over the top and enjoy this fresh and vibrant salad. Grilled seafood makes a wonderful addition.