Alison Peters is not your typical chef. As the corporate chef for Bravo Brio Restaurant Group, she oversees not one, but several establishments. Yet the one we know her for is Brio Tuscan Grille at Irvine Spectrum. For someone with a busy, “Up In the Air” lifestyle, she is as down-to-Earth as they come.
One stereotype about your industry, and whether it's true.
The one stereotype I consistently hear about my industry is that cooking and being a chef is an extremely glamourous career path. With the growing popularity of celebrity chefs and reality television shows featuring elite chefs, people have developed a misconceived notion of what being a chef truly is about. It's an extremely physical and emotionally intense job, and demands more time than most think.
One food you can't live without:The one food I absolutely cannot live without is hot sauce, because I enjoy and crave spicy foods. I have my own bottle that I take everywhere with me!
Favorite meal growing up, and who made it for you:
My favorite meal when I was growing up was the spaghetti and meatballs my parents made. They will always hold a special place in my heart!
What food trends do you see becoming popular?
The food trends I see becoming more and more popular are companies taking the time to utilize locally grown food. Using food that's grown close to home provides healthier options for chefs and for guests, and it's clear that locally sourced and grown food is a preferred choice for consumers.
Best culinary tip for the home cook:
My culinary tip for any cook is to invest in a good, high quality set of knives.
Where was your most recent meal?
The most recent meal I had was cooked by me at home. I love using my kitchen whenever I have the time. I had grilled eggplant with oven roasted tomatoes, peppers, mozzarella and balsamic drizzle, and paired it with some seared shishito peppers. It was seasonal, fresh and delicious!
Favorite places to eat.
My favorite places to eat are both in New York: The Bayou and Otto. I have to visit at least one of them when I'm in New York.
What's the one thing people didn't tell you about working in a restaurant?
When I first started working in restaurants, no one told me how much personal time I would sacrifice for my art. It's worth it at the end of the day, though, to know that my food makes so many people happy.
Most undervalued ingredient:
In my opinion, the most undervalued ingredient is definitely salt. It has the ability to make or break a great dish.
You're making breakfast. What are you having?
My breakfast of choice is a creamy yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and homemade granola.
What would be your last meal on earth?
My last meal on earth would be a perfectly roasted chicken, paired with mashed Yukon golds and house-made gravy. Thinking about it makes my mouth water.
A contributing writer for OC Weekly, Anne Marie freelances for multiple online and print publications, and guest judges for culinary competitions. A Bay Area transplant, she graduated with a degree in Hospitality Management from Cal Poly Pomona. Find her on Instagram as brekkiefan.