Podcast Episode 60: Hope and Main Kitchen Incubator in Warren, Rhode Island


An interview with Greg Fatigati


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Greg Fatigati

Greg Fatigati

In this episode of the Find Dining Podcast, Greg Fatigati of Fatigati’s Fresh Pasta talks about the Hope & Main kitchen incubator in Warren, Rhode Island. We discuss pasta, the Food Network and the origin of tomatoes.


Food for Thought:

  • Q: How did the tortellini get its shape?
  • A: It was inspired by a woman’s belly button — perhaps Venus, the goddess of love.

Out of the Frying Pan Picks:

See a map of more podcasts.

 

Transcript

Seth:  This is Episode Number 60 of the Find Dining Podcast.  Welcome to Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

 

Hello, and welcome to the Find Dining Podcast.  I’m your host.  My name is Seth Resler and this is the podcast for foodies who love travel and travelers who love food.  Each week, we go to a different city and we talk to somebody about the local food scene, find out what’s going on there.  And so this week, we’re actually talking to Greg Fatigati of Fatigati’s Fresh Pasta.  He’s also on the Board of Directors of Hope and Main which is a kitchen incubator and we’re going to talk to him about that.

 

Greg, thank you so much for joining us.

 

Greg:  Seth, thank you for having me.  It’s a pleasure.

 

Seth:  All right.  So we’re doing things a little different in this episode of the podcast because we’re not necessarily talking about a region, we’re talking about all the things that you’re involved in because you’re involved in a bunch of cool projects.  But before we get into those, I know that you’ve got a trivia question for me.

 

Greg:  Yes.  See if anybody can tell us how the tortellini was invented, how the shape of the tortellini was actually created.

 

Seth:  You’re a pasta guy, I know.  So tortellini.

 

Greg:  I am.

 

Seth:  How did the tortellini get its shape?  Let me — hmm, I don’t know off the top of my head, so let me think about that and we’re going to come back to that question.

 

Greg:  Okay.

 

Seth:  Greg, let’s talk about some of the things that you’ve been involved with.  I mean, you’ve been involved with the Culinary Institute of America which everybody knows as CIA.  You’ve now got Fatigati’s Fresh Pasta over there in Portsmouth, Rhode Island.  Tell me about how you got into food in the first place?  I mean, let’s start here.  You were born, then what happened?

 

Greg:  I have grew up in Pittsburg and my family had a restaurant in Pittsburg for 72 years called Fatigati’s, so I guess it was kind of inevitable that it was the path I took.  You know, I say on my website, at a very young age, you know, when I’m about 12 or 13 is when my grandmother actually allowed me to stand beside her at the pasta machine.  I was in the kitchen with my father and my grandparents, my brothers and sisters.  It was just a great environment for me to grow up in, having the whole family there.

 

And, you know, my grandmother showed me the techniques of making pasta and my father showed me the discipline of being a chef and my mother was the one that show me that there was other cultures in food other than just being Italian.

 

Seth:  So this is really like a family affair.  I mean, this is something generation after generation after generation.

 

Greg:  I am actually fourth generation.

 

Seth:  Wow.

 

Greg:  I had a great grandfather who was chef for the king of Italy.

 

Seth:  Really?

 

Greg:  Yup, then my grandmother, and then my father and then now, me.

 

Seth:  That’s some big a shoes to fill there.

 

Greg:  Yeah, yeah.  It’s — especially my father.  He was a special individual, graduate in Notre Dame, spent his time in the State Department and then came back to Pittsburg to take over the family business.  So following my father was not necessarily easy.

 

Seth:  Right, right, I’m sure.  Now, was the restaurant still going in Pittsburg?

 

Greg:  No, no.  My dad retired in ’92, sold the restaurant to somebody else.

 

Seth:  So after growing up in this family, then what?  I mean, did you go and work in the family business for a while?  Did you ever go to get a culinary education?

 

Greg:  I graduated from the Culinary Institute and it was my mother who gave me the idea.  She said, “You know, I know you don’t like the winter, so you should look at doing your summers in New England and go in the south for the winter,” and that’s pretty much what I did for about eight years.  I would do my summers on Cape Cod and then I head down in Naples, Florida for the wintertime.

 

And in between then, I ended up doing some starches in Italy for Andrea de Merano at Villa Mozzart for about a year and then back in the mid-’80s, Tony May New York Restaurant Tour brought him into New York City and I spent some time with Andrea at Palio which was a restaurant he opened here.  And then from there, moved to the Culinary Institute and did my first teaching stint, went out, started another restaurant concept and got into the private club business, the golf resort business and then came back to the Culinary in 2000 as a faculty member and then ended up being the Associate Dean for Culinary Arts.

 

Seth:  Talk to me about the world of culinary education.  I mean, if somebody is a perspective student, just thinking about going into this as a career — first of all, are there other options beside being a chef?

 

Greg:  There are.  My wife is a perfect example.  She started out in the industry cooking.  She’s now director of recruiting and training for Legal Sea Foods Corporation here in Boston.  So there’s a lot of different avenues.  I have students, Francis Lam comes to mind, how great student, he is a freelance writer.  Last I heard, he was with Salon.com writing.  I had students go on to get PhDs and going to research and development.  But they all need that foundation of good sound culinary training and they need to spend some time in the kitchen.  All of them I think will tell you that.

 

But it’s really dramatically changed.  I mean, the Food Network has been asset and liability and I’ve graduated with Susan Feniger and Sara Moulton.  We would have these conversations all the time and say, you know, you guys are great, what you’re doing, we appreciate it, we’ve got — you know, you so much attention to the profession.  But there are students who really don’t get a realistic view.  You know, they watch it on TV and it becomes glamorized.

 

Seth:  Right.

 

Greg:  So it’s helped bring the profession to the forefront, you know, when I used to go home from break when I was in school, my friends would make fun of me for what I was doing, you know, and now, look, what’s happened.  So, it really evolved.

 

Seth:  So let’s talk about that for a moment because there is this thing where there’s been the celebritization, I don’t know if that’s an actual word, of the chef.  And I remember thinking, you know, just a month ago, I went up to San Francisco to watch a butcher cut up a pig and there were, you know — it’s a Tuesday night and there were 40 for us gathered around to watch this.  And when I was a kid, you know, a butcher was what Alice’s boyfriend on the Brady Bunch did.  The people who prepare the food, who grow the food or raise the food have become celebrities in the last decade or two, right?

 

Greg:  Yeah, it’s the European slow food model.  I always used to tell students, nobody is doing anything new and it still has to be boiled, baked, sautéed, grilled, you know, those fundamentals still exist.  And what you’re seeing that happened here in this country is, you know, what’s been going on in Europe and other countries for God knows how many, many years.  We’re finally realizing that the word “terroir” has some real meaning and the locality of sourcing ingredients is really now coming to play.  The challenge is you get that customer who wants asparagus in the middle of January.

 

Seth:  Yeah.  I mean, people have lost a sense of, you know, what is in season when.

 

Greg:  Correct.  That’s very, very true.  You know, the large changed is they do that, so then they come to your place and say, “Well, I had it over there last week, why can’t I get it from you.”  And so, “Well, you know, we have a different viewpoint of how we present our food and what we do.”  It’s tough because, you know, you try to balance that versus being financially viable as a company.

 

Seth:  Sure.

 

Greg:  It is a challenge.

 

Seth:  Are there other skills that people, you know, in particular, people who want to, say, open up their own restaurant or operate their own business?  Obviously, they need some of the business skills.

 

Greg:  Correct.

 

Seth:  Is there also a new set of skills that people need?  I mean, to be a super successful chef at this point, do you need public speaking skills, I mean, now that there is the food network and things like that as a portion of it?  Are there other things like that that people need to be good at?

 

Greg:  You know, communication is a big part of it, but I always stressed that it’s not being able to speak, it’s being able to listen to what your customers and your guests are telling you and then having the flexibility to respond very quickly.  You know, when I first started out, chefs never walked out of the kitchen.  Let’s be honest.  There were some times when you didn’t want to see them out of the kitchen.  But that’s all changed today, so people want to see the chef at tables in the kitchen, all those types of things.  But communication, being able to speak to your customers and communicate and present yourself, because you are the brand, you know, and I think that’s the big thing that the chefs have realized.  They are the brand today.

 

Seth:  And especially now that you’ve seen the explosion of social media as well.  You know, you’ve got this food bloggers who are following particular personalities.

 

Greg:  Correct.

 

Seth:  And know where they go and what restaurants they open and, I mean, people keep track of.  Oh, the chef started here and started down to this person and then moved to there and then trained and…

 

Greg:  Pretty soon, we’ll have training cards I think.

 

Seth:  You know what, so I come from the world of alternative rock and this actually reminds me quite a bit of the alternative rock explosion that you saw in the ’90s.

 

Greg:  Right.

 

Seth:  The food network being sort of the MTV, you know, and the way that all those bands just had a grassroots following and went around touring and, you know, became celebrities.  I see a lot of parallels to what’s happening.

 

Greg:  Yeah, yeah, I would agree with that statement.

 

Seth:  I like to think of the Taste Trekkers Food Tourism Conference as the warped store of the culinary world.  That’s what I’m aiming for.

 

Greg:  I hope you’re very successful.

 

Seth:  So let’s talk about your latest venture, Fatigati’s Fresh Pasta.  This is over in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, right?

 

Greg:  Correct.

 

Seth:  So tell me why you opened up a shop there and what’s you’re doing?

 

Greg:  You know, I’ve always been fascinated by pasta, you know, and I always used to tell students, the simpler the ingredients, the more the technique becomes the issue.  And when you look at pasta, you need eggs, flour, salt, that’s it.  But how you handle it, humidity, the technique of how you make it, it always fascinated me, you know.  And then I think it just goes back — for me, it’s always been comfort food.  I go back to those days as a kid with my father and my grandparents in the kitchen and I’ve just always had a real fascination with pasta.

 

I found this location in Portsmouth, I realized that I could convert it into this fresh pasta shop and that’s what I did.  I have a lot of moving parts here.  I do fresh pasta, cut to order.  I have prepared meals that my customers can come in and pick up and heat up at home at their leisure.  I have a takeaway menu.  I have a small retail section and I also do an Italian deli with imported meat and cheeses.

 

Seth:  Oh, wow.  So you got a lot going on there.

 

Greg:  I have a lot going on, you know, and we always have at least four or five flavor doughs besides our egg dough.  We’ve got spinach today, spinach spaghetti, squid ink, mushroom made of garlic rosemary dough.  I don’t make it here but I do have a source for fresh good and free pasta which is really high in demand.  I can’t make it here because I would have to sanitize my entire shop.

 

Seth:  Sure.

 

Greg:  So it’s just easier for me to purchase it.

 

Seth:  Right.

 

Greg:  You know, let somebody do what they’re good at and I’ll do what I’m good at.

 

Seth:  You know, talk to me about fresh pasta, particularly for the person who is so used to getting their spaghetti out of the box.  Talk to me about the differences.  I mean, what makes fresh pasta great?

 

Greg:  Well, first, it will have an egg product in it.  And it’s interesting, when you talk about — and I learned a very hard lesson, I was opened just a couple of days and somebody came in and brought a couple of pounds of pasta and then called me about a half an hour later and said it was the worst thing they ever had.  And I said, “Well, did you overcook it?”  And they — long pause on the phone and they said, “We didn’t know we had to cook it.”  They had always gotten pasta out of the box.

 

Seth:  Right

 

Greg:  You know, so I said, you know, assumptions is the mother of all screwups, so I started handing out cookie instructions for a while.  But fresh pasta, you know, nothing like it.  The dough has a lot more elasticity.  It takes on the flavor of the salt when you soak to water I think more.  It takes on the flavor of the sauce more, you know, and then obviously, it’s the cooking time.  It cooks in two or three minutes depending on what size and thickness of cut that you’re doing.  And pasta has a functionality.  And, you know, I have to ask my customers when they come in, when they ask for sauce, “Are you eating the Italian way or the American way?”  The Italian way is just enough sauce, the pasta is supposed to carry the sauce, that’s it’s function, you know.  And if they’d say the American way, then we give them a lot more sauce, you know, on pasta.

 

Seth:  Right.  So for somebody who is sort of new to the world of pasta, walk me through some of the different types, walk me through some of the different dishes and some of the different pastas you would use with different sauces.  Where do you start?

 

Greg:  As I said earlier, the pasta really is a functional part of the dish.  It’s design to carry the sauce and hold the sauce, so rigatoni, for example, or penne as a lot of people know it or a fusilli or, you know, the hallow shape, it’s designed to hold sauce inside the pasta so when you eat it, you have a nice mixture of sauce and pasta, broad flattened noodles like pappardelle or fettuccini or tagliatelle are designed to be served with cream sauces.  There’s the starch of the pasta on the outside takes on and it’s easily coated with the cream sauce or just butter and cheese, tortellinis or tortellinis are designed to, you know, have a filling like ravioli.  I was at the — did you ever get a chance in your travels to go to the Pasta Museum in Bologna, Italy and you’ll see literally hundreds of different shapes and sizes of pasta.

 

Pasta, when we say pasta, Seth, we’re talking about fresh.  An Italian verbiage, macaroni would be the dry variations of — I can’t even bring myself to use pasta, they call it macaroni.

 

Seth:  Right, right.

 

Greg:  Those are always extruded and they usually don’t have eggs in them.  They’re just made with semolina and warm water and a little bit of salt.

 

Seth:  And so you’re telling me just about everything I see on the grocery store shelves is actually macaroni?

 

Greg:  In the Italian culture, that would be classified broadly as macaroni.

 

Seth:  Got you.

 

Greg:  Right, a dried.  You know, in every 28 different regions in Italy, 28 different dialects, you know, the ravioli as you know it, at northern region, maybe you call it Angioletti somewhere else or it depends on what it served with, what’s inside of it sometimes.  So that’s when you get all these hundreds of different variations of pasta.  And it can be confusing and people come in and ask for this and I say, “Well, describe it to me.”  “Oh, I have that, this is what I call it because that’s the region of Italy I’m from.”  So I can usually determine where somebody’s heritage comes from Italy by what they’re asking in a pasta.

 

Seth:  So when you sit down to teach students about pasta, you know, what are some of the first things that you tell them and what are some of the secrets to making great pasta?

 

Greg:  We used a very high protein flour and semolina.  It’s usually between 16% and 18% protein.  And why that’s important is because if you mix it and overwork it too much and don’t allow it to relax, it will come up very tough and that’s just because of the structure of the flour.  You know, eggs are important.  You know, one of the things that you’ll never get in this country, when you go to Italy, you see the fresh pasta has a really — has oranges hue to it and that’s because the chickens, the yolks of the eggs over there are fed differently.  It just had to have this deep orange color to them and that’s why when you look at pictures of pasta in Italy in books, the colors are vibrant. Of course, as I have come to in this country, what eggs that matched are duck eggs.

 

Seth:  Okay.

 

Greg:  But people get little squeamish when you — if you start making pasta with duck eggs, so.  We know a lot more health in food safety concerns, so here at the shop, I have to use pasteurized egg.  I can’t use fresh eggs.  So those are some of the things we talk about.  You know, the debate always is is there olive oil in the pasta dough or not in the pasta dough.  But really working the dough and you really have to — it’s again, it’s the technique becomes the issue because there’s so few ingredient.  It’s kind of hard to teach with our student right off the bat how the dough should feel.  You tried to give them some indications by pulling it apart and showing them and then allowing it to rest.  And then humidity, when you’re running it through the machine depending on the time of the year, it may need more flour work into it, it may need to be dried longer.  I mean, these are all the little nuances that you have to teach the student about pasta.

 

Seth:  Now, talk to me about sort of regional differences in pasta.  I mean, not just in Italy but other different pastas from around the world and what are some of the differences?

 

Greg:  You know, if you go into the Asian countries, you obviously see rice flour being used more.  In Mediterranean cooking in the far east, you’ll see chickpea flour.  Look at orzo, that’s a semolina but it’s cut into different shape.  You’ll see potato flour used in different pastas around the world, too.  You know, some of the earliest books I read, you know, all point to — the Italians had a great knock for traveling the world, finding something, bringing it back to their country and making everybody believe it was theirs.

 

Seth:  That’s a good trick.

 

Greg:  It is.  It’s a great trick.  I mean, tomatoes aren’t indigenous to Italy.  They were brought back from this country.

 

Seth:  Really?

 

Greg:  But when you say — yeah, when you say Italian cuisine, what’s the first thing a lot of people think of?

 

Seth:  Yeah, definitely.

 

Greg:  It’s tomato.

 

Seth:  Yeah, absolutely.

 

Greg:  But, you know, pasta really had — the noodle had its roots in Asian.  And you look at different cultures, everybody’s got a stuff pasta of some sort or close to it, you know.  The Polish and the Ukrainians have a pierogi.  So the Chinese do their different styles of dumplings and you just go throughout the far east just to see the different styles of dumplings, so.  They all had something very similar.

 

Seth:  Now, what’s your favorite style?

 

Greg:  You know, I still like a nice fettuccini cut and just a good extra virgin olive oils and crack pepper and cheese because I like the taste of pasta.

 

Seth:  That does sound like it would chill it off, yeah, absolutely.

 

Greg:  I’m all to the pasta more than the sauce.

 

Seth:  All right.  Well, we could talk about pasta everyday but we’ve got a couple of other things that we got to talk about here.  So we got to come back in just a second.  We are going to get an answer to your trivia question.

 

Greg:  Okay.

 

Seth:  We’re going to find out, you know, how the shape of the tortellini came about.  We are also going to talk about Hope and Main which is this great kitchen incubator that you’re involved with and then we’re going to play a game called Out of the Frying Pan.  So that’s coming up in just a sec.

 

Okay.  We’ve officially wrapped up in Taste Trekkers Food Tourism Conference.  There’s so many people to thank for making that such a fantastic event that happened a couple of weeks ago in Providence, Rhode Island including Hope and Main.  They were one of the sponsors of the event.  We were very excited to have them.  You’re going to hear about all the exciting things that they’re doing, has the kitchen incubator space in just a sec.

 

I do want to let you know that if you head over to the Taste Trekkers website, couple of things, first of all, you can see photos and an entire recap of the conference.  It composed of tweets.  And you can hear Matt Jennings’ keynote address and also some other things right there at TasteTrekkers.com/conference.

 

The other thing is that if you head over to TasteTrekkers.com, you will actually see on the right side, a link that allows you to leave a voice mail that we can then play on this podcast.  So if you want to leave us a message, we’ll play them back in this podcast.  Go ahead and just click the link there, click the button head over and leave a message right from your computer and we’ll air you on this podcast.  You could be a celebrity.  Wouldn’t that be huge?  People come up to you at parties, ask you for your autograph.  It will be awesome, so leave a message, we love to hear from you.  Thanks so much.

 

We are talking to Greg Fatigati.  He’s got Fatigati’s Fresh Pasta in Portsmouth.  He’s also been involved with the Culinary Institute of America and many, many ways over the years.  And he is on the Board of Directors of the Hope and Main Kitchen Incubator that is coming soon to Rhode Island.  We’re going to talk about that, but before we do, I know I ask you a trivia question.  Tell me again what it is.

 

Greg:  Where did the shape of the tortellini originate from?

 

Seth:  Where did the shape of the tortellini originate from?  Just so that everybody can visualize it, the tortellini is sort of the ring shaped pasta.

 

Greg:  Correct.

 

Seth:  It kind of looks like a belly button.

 

Greg:  There you go.  That’s the answer.  And there’s two stories of lore out there, one is that a chef working for a very wealthy household, was so enamored with the wife that he created the tortellini the shape of her belly button in tribute to her, and the other story is that it was created by Italian chefs to represent the belly button of being as the goddess of love.

 

Seth:  It is literally belly button pasta.

 

Greg:  Yup, and you know, the big conversation is “Is it an innie or outie?,” so…

 

Seth:  It is a little hard to tell, isn’t it?

 

Greg:  It is, it is, so.

 

Seth:  I guess the good news is you didn’t have any lint that day.

 

Greg:  I don’t know.  There’s too much flour on it.

 

Seth:  Yeah, that’s true.  That’s true.  Okay.  So let’s talk about this project Hope and Main and first of all, tell me what it is.

 

Greg:  Hope and Main is actually the brain child of Lisa Raiola and Waterman Brown.  They’re really the driving force behind it and they saw a need in Rhode Island for this concept that’s been replicated around the country, you know, these incubator kitchens.  And what they are in its purest sense is we’re going to build commercial kitchens that somebody who wants to take a food product to market can rent the kitchen space from us and actually put their product into production.  We will help them with storage and we’ll help them with distribution.

 

Seth:  So this sounds to me like they are these business incubators that a lot of entrepreneurs used where they all get together and sort of have shared office space.  This is the same thing applied to people who need a kitchen, right?

 

Greg:  Exactly the same thing, Seth.

 

Seth:  How many of these are there around the country?

 

Greg:  We just recently wrote a report done by a company at Philadelphia research firm and they confirm that there’s 140 in existence throughout the United States.

 

Seth:  Wow.

 

Greg:  Hope and Main would be the first one in Rhode Island.

 

Seth:  So this is something that I would use, for example, if I just graduated from the Culinary Institute of America or just graduated from Johnson & Wales and I were looking to start my own business perhaps?

 

Greg:  That’s exactly one of the clients we may have.  It might be somebody who’s trained professionally.  It might be somebody who’s always had an act for cooking or whose mother made something that everybody like that he think is a product that could be very successful in market.  It could also be an existing restaurant, too, or caterer who from time to time needs to rent some extra kitchen space for a large party or function that they have.

 

Seth:  Got you.  So big food festival that comes through or something like that, you need to gear up.  So we’re not just talking about, for example, chefs at restaurants, but it could also be artisanal food producers or somebody putting together some sort of packaged food product?

 

Greg:  Correct.  The big users from what I understand around the country are food trucks right now.  They need places to produce their product and they really don’t have access to commercial kitchens, so obviously, you know, you’ve read there’s a lot friction between fruit trucks and brick and mortar restaurant owner, so I’m sure they’re having difficult time approaching a brick and mortar restaurants saying, “Hey, can I have some kitchen space, so I can park in from your restaurant at noon?”

 

Seth:  Right.  That’s interesting.  Because one of the things I was wondering was whether this competed with food trucks in some ways because food trucks have been a really nice low cost entry point for a lot of people, you know, looking to get into this sort of hospitality in food service industry, but you’re saying that they could use the incubator space and pair the two together.

 

Greg:  Correct.  Because a certain city have — health departments have restrictions about food being prepared in somebody’s home.  You know, with the HACCP certification and those types of things, it’s hard to get a kitchen in somebody’s private home certified, so this definitely is a big asset for them to have access to.

 

Seth:  So where is the Hope and Main project at this point?

 

Greg:  Building was purchased, contract was awarded to construction company and they actually — we’re probably through the permitting process right now with the general contractor and all the subcontractor.  So the first phase of construction from what I understand will be the elevator that we have to install.  So it’s now going to move very fast.  We are finishing the application process so we will be able to get the application online very soon for candidate.  And we’re really a kind of full service.  We’re going to help them create their business plan.  They’ll be able to tie in with the Rhode Island’s Small Business Association and go through them.  If they qualify and be able to get some money through them, they have to bring certain things to the table first.  They have to be ServSafe certified.  They have to have proof of liability insurance.  In some cases, depending on the product, they may have to have label approved by the USDA.

 

Seth:  Then you’re really offering, you know, much more than just a kitchen there?

 

Greg:  Correct.  We will stand or fall and the success or our failure of our incubees.  It’s important that we make them successful right from the beginning.

 

Seth:  And this, by the way, and I’ll tell you this as an entrepreneur and you know this as well that quite often it’s the other things besides sort of the main thing that you do that can be tricky and that can tripped you up.

 

Greg:  Absolutely.

 

Seth:  There’s a great book for entrepreneurs called The E-myth Revisited and that’s one of the things, you know, tell the story about, you know, a guy — he’s a great plumber, he works for a plumbing company and he says, I’m the best plumber here, why do I, you know, all my money goes to the plumbing company, I’m going to go start my own plumbing company.  And he thinks that all there is to starting a plumbing company is being a plumber and it turns out, no, you got to be able to manage people and take care of the legal stuff and handle sales and billing and all that.  So you guys actually help with a lot of those sort of other aspects besides just…

 

Greg:  We will, we will even help them initially through the distribution processing channels.

 

Seth:  Oh, that’s key, that’s key.  When are you looking to open the doors?  I mean, when are you looking to have your first, you know, applicants in there?

 

Greg:  Actually, we would have applicants in the queue before we actually finished the kitchen because there’s a lot of things behind the scenes like — that we were just talking about that they have to have in place.  You know, they have to get purveyors lined up, packaging line up, so there’s a lot of things that they can have.  So we — I believe the plan if everything worst case scenario would be late spring to have our first incubees actually putting on burners in the kitchen.

 

Seth:  Oh, okay.  So that’s soon.

 

Greg:  Yup.  We’re going to put the application online probably late September.

 

Seth:  Okay.

 

Greg:  And we will start evaluating applications probably after that.

 

Seth:  And how many kitchens are you going to have there?

 

Greg:  We’re going to start off with two, four kitchens and then one cold prep area because we realized, you know, why tie up a commercial kitchen space with somebody standing there and having to do a lot of meats and plus cutting vegetables or things like that.  So the kitchens will be for actual cooking and then they’ll have an area next to their adjacent to the kitchens where they can do all the meats and plus work.  All the plumbing and electrical and HVAC will be in the cold prep area and when we need it, then we can convert that space into a third kitchen.

 

Seth:  So let’s say I got my cupcake food truck idea that I want to get up and off the ground, I’ve applied, I’m into the program.  What does it look like?  Do I reserve hours, you know, a certain times of the day or certain day a week or…?

 

Greg:  I kind of make the analogy to I have a great ballroom and I’m in the middle of a wedding season.  So everybody wants to get married on Saturday, so we will have different rates for incubees based on prime time and obviously the middle of the day probably from 9:00 until 2:00 or 3:00 when a lot people want to be in there.  Incubees will have their own key.

 

Seth:  So it’s a come and go.

 

Greg:  Definitely a come and go.  They will have to schedule through us but they will have access to the building.  You might be or somebody who has once who has to do donuts or bread or something, so you’re going to want to be in there at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.

 

Seth:  And how many tenants can you have at one given time?  What do you call them?  What do you call the people who rent this space?

 

Greg:  Incubees.

 

Seth:  Okay.  That’s a good word.  I like that.  How many incubees can you have at any one given time?

 

Greg:  We’re open to have 40 in the queue.

 

Seth:  Oh, wow.  Okay.  That’s a lot.

 

Greg:  You know, because they’re not all going to be doing the massive production, you know, initially, so talking to other incubees around the country, 40 seems to be a manageable number for the size of kitchens that we’re planning on constructing.

 

Seth:  The model for Hope and Main, is this a non-profit organization?

 

Greg:  We are non-profit.

 

Seth:  Well, people want to find out more about it, where can they go?

 

Greg:  They can just Google Hope and Main in Warren, Rhode Island and it will come up.

 

Seth:  All right.  Kitchen incubator, I like this idea.  We’re going to have some cool stuff coming out of there.

 

Greg:  I think so, you know.  I’m sure we’re going to see a piece of an idea that we can take with an incubee and tweak it a little bit and turn it into something that can be very successful with.

 

Seth:  Do chefs and food producers — it just seems like they have more tools at their disposals and there’s more avenues towards creating into some things between food trucks and food network and social media and incubator spaces like this.  It seems like there’s a lot of opportunity these days.

 

Greg:  There is and the manufacturing process has gotten quite sophisticated.  The products that you have available to you have become quite good. You know, for example, here in my shop, when I make spinach dough, it’s a powder, it’s a concentrated powder that I used rather than fresh because it’s more consistent.  It’s going to give me the same color every time, the same moisture in my dough every time.  So there’s a lot of products like that that are available now that help in making the products more consistent.

 

There’s a science into the manufacturing which a lot of them will need help with as well, you know, how do you keep it stable, how much citric acid that you put in there, what stabilizers you’re going to have to put in there.  And that’s going to be a little challenging for incubees because they’re used to making something off the kitchen stove.  Well, now, getting it to taste exactly the same when you required by a lot of putting — you know, certain amount of sintered gas with our other preservatives in there.  And that will change the flavor profile over time as it sits on the grocery store shelf.  So these are all challenges that they’re going to have to work through as well.

 

Seth:  All right.  Are you ready to play a little game?

 

Greg:  I am.

 

Seth:  Okay.  This game is called Out of the Frying Pan. Here’s how it works.  I’m going to ask you for a series of rapid fire recommendations, you just tell me the first thing that comes to mind.  And we’re talking about the Portsmouth there.  For people who don’t know, where exactly is Portsmouth, Rhode Island.

 

Greg:  Portsmouth is on Aquidneck Island so we are far into island away from Newport which is on the water.

 

Seth:  So about how many minutes away from Newport?

 

Greg:  About 20 minutes separate the two towns.

 

Seth:  So not far at all, and how far from Providence?

 

Greg:  Well, let’s put it this way, by Rhode Island standards, that’s far.

 

Seth:  Yes, that’s true.

 

Greg:  We’ve got ‘Little State Complex’ right here.

 

Seth:  How far outside of Providence is Portsmouth?

 

Greg:  25 minutes.

 

Seth:  Okay.  So not far at all.  Let’s start with this.  If I’m looking for a place somewhere in the island with a great view, a restaurant, where would I go?

 

Greg:  The Boathouse in Tiverton, right on the water overlooking that Mount Hope Bridge and the Sakonnet Bridge, sits on the Sakonnet River which empties into the Narragansett Bay.  And then you have the Roger Williams University straight across the bay from you.

 

Seth:  How about a great first date restaurant, is that a great place to go?

 

Greg:  My wife took me on our first date to Scales & Shells down in Newport, Rhode Island on Thames Street.

 

Seth:  And that worked out well?

 

Greg:  Yeah, it worked out well.

 

Seth:  Do you have a favorite place for brunch?

 

Greg:  Oh, in the Castle Hill at Newport, Rhode Island right on the mouth of the harbor.  They do a very nice brunch a la carte and I believe they have a buffet as well and really good mimosas.  You can sit out at the bar, you know, look at over the harbor up in the bay.  It’s right there.

 

Seth:  Obviously, you’re right there in the water, so we got to ask about seafood.  Do you have a favorite place to go for seafood?

 

Greg:  If you want fried seafood in Bristol, I think Quito’s does the best job and they’re right in Bristol, Rhode Island which is just over the bridge from us here.

 

Seth:  Talk to me about some of the places you go locally for ingredients.  Do you have farms that you used that other people could maybe visit and get ingredients if they wanted to?

 

Greg:  You know, I have a great resource about 400 yards from me, it’s called Decastro’s Farm Stand and they — actually, the family owns the largest farm on the island here and they bring in a lot of their own fresh produce. And if they don’t have it, if it’s not the season yet, Tom De Castro is very good about bringing from other local farms even as far away as Western Massachusetts.  So he’s a very good source.

 

Also, Sweet Berry Farms in Middle Town is a very nice spot for a lot of fresh ingredients.  They actually have somebody there now who’s cultivating a lot of mushrooms.

 

Seth:  Do you have a favorite local chef?

 

Greg:  You know, I like what Sai does at DeWolf Tavern and also the guys at Persimmon in Bristol.  I think both do a really nice job with their food there.

 

Seth:  Both of those guys, by the way, are involved in the Taste Trekkers Food Tourism Conference.

 

Greg:  Yeah.  I think they do a very nice job.

 

Seth:  Here’s my last question since you’re a pasta guy.

 

Greg:  All right.

 

Seth:  And be careful how you answer this one.  You know that the former mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, Mr. Buddy Cianci, has his own marinara sauce.

 

Greg:  Yeah, I know that.

 

Seth:  Can we get your opinion?

 

Greg:  I’ve never had it.

 

Seth:  You’ve never had it?

 

Greg:  Seth, I’m going to be honest with you, I have never had a sauce out of a jar.

 

Seth:  All right.  We’ll take that as an answer.

 

Greg:  I’m a purest at heart, I will go and cut up some tomatoes and salads and garlic and fresh basil and do that before I’d ever open a jar.

 

Seth:  All right, then.

 

Greg:  My father would roll around in his grave.

 

Seth:  Fair enough, fair enough.  Thank you for playing.  You survived Out of the Frying Pan.  You did a fantastic job.  And thank so much for taking the time to talk to us for this interview.  This has been great and I’m really excited about all the projects you’ve got going.  You really do have a lot going on there.

 

Greg:  We do, we do but, you know, it keeps us young.

 

Seth:  So let’s walk through them, if people want to visit Fatigati’s Fresh Pasta in Portsmouth, the address is 1965 East Main Road.  Where can people find that online?

 

Greg:  Fatigati’sFreshPasta.com.

 

Seth:  And then like we said, Hope and Main, you can find it online.  You can easily just Google it.  Well, thank you so much for joining us.  I look forward to meeting you at the Taste Trekkers Conference and best of luck with everything.

 

Greg:  Thank you, Seth.  It’s been a real pleasure talking to you.

 

Seth:  My name is Seth Resler.  This is the Find Dining Podcast.  Couple of show notes before we go, first of all, you can find links to many of the things we talk in this episode over at TasteTrekkers.com.  While you’re there, you can subscribe to the show in iTunes or in TuneIn or Stitcher Radio or anything like that.  Please leave a review.  If you do, that helps us out quite a bit.  You can also follow us on Twitter, Taste Trekkers.  We’re on Facebook as well.  And if want to be a guest, you want to come on the podcast and talk about the culinary scene in your area, just click the contact us links and send us an email and we would love to have you on.  Thanks so much for listening.






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