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Angelo Cuppone, executive chef of ROMA, is a true son of southern Italy

Angelo Cuppone, executive chef of ROMA.
Angelo Cuppone, executive chef of ROMA.

HOUSTON – Born to Calabrian mother and a Pugliese father, ROMA’s executive chef Angelo Cuppone is a true son of southern Italy.

Cuppone grew up along Italy’s Adriatic coast, where he studied at one of the country’s most prestigious culinary schools. One of his first jobs in Italy was in Il Pescatore, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Porto Cervo, Sardinia.

A stint at a Starwood resort followed. But his career really took off when he took over the kitchen at La Grotta, an agriturismo in Pesaro where he grew up. Pesaro was a farm-to-table countryside restaurant, where literally everything the chef prepares is grown or raised on the estate where it is served.

“I want to give our customers emotions, not just food,” Angelo said in an interview with Good Taste. "I want to give them an experience through the food.”

If you haven’t had the chance to make the journey to ROMA for dinner, then you need to put this one on your list for 2020.

We caught up with chef Angelo for some candid Q&A, and here is what he had to say:

What did you have for dinner last night?

Grilled chicken breast with rice and steamed veggies.

If you could dine at any place in the world tonight, where would that be?

Osteria Francescana in Modena. Massimo Bottura is my favorite chef.

Favorite ingredient to work with and why?

My favorite ingredient is imported canned San Marzano tomatoes because when you cook Italian food, having a great tomato base is something you should not neglect.

What’s your favorite ethnic cuisine?

Cantonese

What’s the strangest request you’ve ever had from a diner?

Veal carpaccio topped with meatballs.

What’s the best part about being a chef?

The best part about being a chef is creating art that involves all the senses.

What’s your favorite “guilty pleasure” food?

Double cheeseburger at Whataburger.