"The love of cooking started when I was a kid," says celebrated chef and restaurateur Todd English. We had time for a chat with Todd as he sat on the tarmac before a whirlwind trip that would have him jetting from New York to London then on to Sweden and finally Milan before heading to the Hamptons this weekend for "Feast!" the 9th annual Hamptons Happening for the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation.
"I was always hanging out with them and cooking things," explains Todd, who grew up in the kitchen beside his Italian mother and grandmother in the 70’s, "It was something that was part of our life." Back then cooking was something he did but not something he saw as a career. That changed when the would-be pro-baseball player got hurt in college. "I had to make a living and the only thing I knew how to do was cook. So I started cooking. I wound up working for talented chefs. This was a whole new world to me and frankly I fell in love with it." His love of food led him to learn more and eventually open the first of many successful restaurants, Olives, in Charleston, MA.
An honoree this year, English’s involvement with the Hamptons Happening is personal. "It’s a notable event," he says. "My unfortunate experience with breast cancer, with my sister, to see how much my sister suffered, how all victims suffer. So I very much do what I can do." That generous spirit will bring Todd and six of his restaurants including Todd English’s Olives, The Todd English Food Hall, Todd English’s Çava Brasserie, and Isabelle’s Curly Cakes, to the table, literally, with samples of tempting dishes for the most discriminating of Hamptons pallets.
"My favorite thing is just to go the market. Get wine and hang out with friends," English tells Hamptons.com about his time off on the East End. "I haven’t been out this year yet but I’m sure Tom [Colicchio’s] place [Topping Rose House] is doing amazing stuff."
Unfortunately Todd won’t be in the Hamptons very long. In fact he will jet off right after the Hamptons Happening to begin work on another season of "Food Trip" with stops in Malaysia, Brazil, and Morocco. Along the way he’ll no doubt pick up inspirations for his upcoming book about spices. When he finally does take a break from flying and filming Todd tells us that he’ll be cooking. "It’s always fun. There’s something about pasta. Sunday is spaghetti day for me."
The 9th annual Hamptons Happening for the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation will be held on Saturday, July 27, 2013, at the Bridgehampton home of Maria and Kenneth Fishel. For tickets contact [email protected]ncer.org.