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People have told me that the mere mention of my name or seeing my face conjures up images of food… and while I believe they mean it as a compliment, it’s enough to make this chubby guy drop his donut and run to see his therapist.

I unapologetically embrace the notion that food and cooking are my “things”. I credit my parents and my grandparents for laying a foundation built on chicken cutlets, meatballs, big Sunday dinners, and lots of homemade cookies. It is what has shaped me into the chef that I am. People often ask, “Do you ever get tired of cooking?” The short answer is “no” but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there are elements that I sometimes do not enjoy. Grocery shopping, whether it’s Market Basket or the wholesale restaurant supply, I often feel like I spend more time at these places than I do in the kitchen. Clean-up is never fun, especially when you cook on a large scale. I’m fortunate to have Bob at home who has always jumped into the role of head dishwasher without any objection.

But even with loving to cook as much as I do, I think it’s important to have diversions. I am a diehard gamer which is something that tends to surprise people. I love video games and am often competing with my kids for my time in front of the Xbox. Another passion of mine is the theatre. In my time, B.C. (before cooking) my hours in the theatre rivaled the time I currently spend in the kitchen. I studied theatre in college, performed in productions, and even “ran away to join the circus” by moving to NYC to be an actor (which lasted all of 45 seconds). Eventually, I found my way to Suffolk University where I worked as a production assistant in the academic Theatre department.

C. Walsh Theatre at Suffolk University, 2001

During this time, I wrote plays, ran a children’s theatre company, and even worked on some small independent films. In 2000 while working at Suffolk University, I created a non-academic theatre program that allowed students to participate in a wide variety of performing arts programs regardless of their academic focus. To see that program still serving students and thriving 23 years later and to be credited as its founding father - is a tremendous source of pride for me.

And even today, my hair is a little grayer, and my face weathered, I still enjoy being involved in the theatre. Fortunately, the North Shore has a robust Arts scene and I am able to indulge myself as a patron and sometimes, even as an actor. Right in my own backyard, at the magnificent Crane Estate is a group called Castle Hill Productions. CHP is the brainchild of Kristina Brendel, who serves as the Trustees of Reservation’s Arts coordinator at Castle Hill and the production company’s Artistic Director. Since 2016 CHP has been producing quality productions in intimate locations in and around the Great House, creating a near-immersive experience for their audiences. I have been fortunate to have performed with them for several of their shows, which brings me to my shameless plug…

I invite you to come to see me in CHP’s production of “ART” by Yasmina Reza and directed by Cynthia August. I am lucky to share the stage with two very talented actors, Alex Deroo and John Manning. The show opens on March 10th and runs through the 26th. I’ve included a short promotional video to give you a little more information.

I look forward to seeing you at one of the shows and maybe, just maybe, my performance will give you another reason to think of me besides my cookies.

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