Hosts: Geoff Johnson & Rocky Fino
Geoff Johnson has spent years behind the line running kitchens and owning restaurants. Rocky Fino spent just enough time on the line to realize that he doesn’t want to be there. Both understand the value of a good meal from filling a dining room to a quiet dinner for two. Together they strip away the pretentious image of food, wine and entertaining and showcase the true purpose of eating and drinking for the fun of it!
Stripped Down Kitchen with Rocky Fino and Geoff Johnson
Rocky Fino knows the titles of his books give readers a chuckle. After all, the author of Will Cook for Sex: A Guy’s Guide to Cooking, Will Mix for Sex: 21 Classic Cocktails to Set the Mood and Will Cook for Sex Again, Again and Again earned himself the affectionate designation of “the show’s giggle” at a 2005(?) literary trade show. But when it comes down to showing men that cooking for a woman doesn’t have to be intimidating, the culinary writer and presenter takes his mission very seriously.
“As men — single or married — we are challenged with enamoring our significant others,” he says. “There is no better chance to show her your affection than in the kitchen.”
In his books, meal demonstrations, and speaking engagements, Fino breaks cooking down into simple steps and complements his recipes with visual aids and amusing anecdotes about his own trials and errors – thereby reassuring men (and, often, women) that they, too, can impress a date by developing some basic confidence and creativity in the kitchen. With a playful and approachably self-depreciating style, Fino guides would-be seductors through specific topics like essential equipment, salmon vs. steak, and meals the morning after. As a pioneer in the field of pairing and cooking with craft beer, the California-based chef also challenges readers and viewers to break with tradition by serving elegant beers instead of wine to score points in the crucial categories of innovation, forethought and attention to detail.
Fino, who spent many a childhood night cooking for the family with his father, received a B.A. in Radio, TV and Film from Temple University and an M.B.A. from California State University. The skills he learned in school combine with a natural sense of humor to make him a sought-after broadcast media commentator and featured chef at food, drink and relationship expos and events across the country. To wit, Fino is the resident cooking expert for TV8 in Vail, Colorado, and appears frequently on TV news and cooking shows in Philadelphia, Manhattan and St. Louis. He’s also the featured guest chef for the Atlantic City Beerfest.
Fino’s first book, Will Cook for Sex, published by Stephen’s Press in 2005, won ForeWord Magazine’s “Cookbook of the Year” award and has received praise from publications such as Men’s Health Magazine, Maxim, Hooters Magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer and St. Petersburg Times.
“He provides a guy’s insight into the crazy abyss of dating and relationships,” reviewed Tracy Spicer in Pasadena Weekly. “Think of Fino as your best friend, giving you advice before the big date. Only these friendly pointers are not cheesy pickup lines or suave moves … and they most likely will work!”
As a California native, Fino has long taken advantage of the fresh ingredients and progressive culinary ideas that informed his father as he methodically prepared thousands of gourmet meals with his son.
“He admitted that since I didn’t get Paul Newman looks from him, he needed to give me something else to help with the ladies,” the younger Fino remembers. “After many years of defeat suffered while trying to go toe-to-toe in the ring of the pick-up scene, I finally realized the value of that skill.”
Since picking up an iron and a skillet, then and a pen and a microphone, Fino’s succeeded in picking up many a pleased woman and several books’ worth of pointers. And if any readers or viewers require proof that Fino’s techniques really work, they’re welcome to ask his very appreciative wife.
From a very young age, Chef Geoff discovered the love of cooking from his mother and grandmother, traditional northern and southern Italian cuisine. He has owned the Bulk Head Restaurant in Barnegat at the age of 21 and has worked at Il Giardino Sul Mare, C’est La Vie, and The Downtown Restaurant, as the pastry chef; to name a few.
His success led to an opportunity to work for Jon Bon Jovi as a personal chef, along with several engagements with the Canadian Embassy. More locally, Chef Geoff has participated in the Taste of the Nation, now of Ocean County, during the past eleven years, Share our Strength, appeared on various television networks performing cooking segments, received a total of twelve write up stars. Also has been featured in many local and tri-state area write-ups. Also participated in culinary food shows with Emeril Lagasse, Claire Robinson, Giada Di Laurentis, Guy Fierri, Ted Allen, Duff Goldman, Tyler Florence, just to name a few .
Most recently, Chef/Owner of The Copper Fish Restaurant in Cape May, NJ has been nominated as the Best Seafood Restaurant at the Shore, Zagat rated, and Best Restaurant ’08 and ’09 and ‘10. In 2007 Johnson took over ownership of the Copper Fish Restaurant in Cape May, NJ where he enjoys coming up with progressive culinary techniques to create a balance of exploratory, yet approachable dishes.
Johnson’s goal is to provide guests a unique and modern culinary experiences grounded in the context of traditional flavors. In addition to his broad professional experience, Johnson’s education has been primarily self-taught, 18 years, working through the ranks, giving him a well-rounded understanding of the ever changing industry. He owes much of his knowledge to his mentor Chef Paul Lombardy, the Culinary Education Center, the Academy of Culinary Arts and many of the other chefs that he has worked under.
Additionally he is working on a series of cookbooks to be released sometime in the coming year. He hosts his own radio show on cooking and discussions about the restaurant industry where he “cooks” in the studio for his loyal listeners. He can also be found working with Russell Newberry of the “Deadliest Catch” on Discovery Channel, promoting the “Dangerous Wines” and with his addition-“Dangerous Chef” promoting “Dangerous Food”.
Johnson can also be seen as a “chef-testant” on an upcoming new chef competition TV series on the Bravo Network to be aired sometime in June 2011. Also part of Team NJ dinner at the honorable James Beard House Jan. 26 2011 to a sold out dinner. With local celebrity status, Johnson also performs chef demonstrations at the restaurant, touring areas of New Jersey, be it private, group or at food shows, inviting other chefs to participate and share their culinary prowess.