"Chopped" Winner and Culinary Program Alum Returns to Campus

Dante Giannini, a 2006 graduate of the SWBOCES Culinary Arts Program, came back to the Center for Career Services March 27 much to the delight of his former instructors and current students.

A recent winner of the Food Network’s “Chopped” reality TV show, the young Eastchester native took time out of his busy schedule to give students advice and to conduct a culinary demonstration.

“Being a chef is a super intense job,” said Mr. Giannini, who serves as estate chef to Jimmy Buffet and his family, cooking at the musician’s many homes in the United States and abroad.

Despite the intensity, he told the students it’s a career he continues to enjoy.

“I just love handling food everyday,” he added.

During two separate class sessions held in the conference room of Building I, Mr. Giannini fired up the portable grill to cook a pan roasted salmon dish with julianned vegetables.  

Responding to questions from the students about the ability to advance in the culinary industry, Mr. Giannini said it is definitely doable if one is determined enough.

“I never said no to anything to get my foot in the door,” he told them, referring to a career that has included an internship at the Bronxville Field Club, a stint as an Amuse Bouche chef at the Oceana restaurant in New York City, the job of cook at the Castle Hotel & Spa in Tarrytown, and his time as executive chef at the “1770” restaurant in the Hamptons.