With three locations of the popular Italian restaurant Tutto Il Giorno (two in the Hamptons and one in NYC’s Tribeca), Gabby Karan and her Italian chef husband Gianpaolo De Felice give one another our foodie questionnaire.
What’s your favorite thing to cook?
Gabby: Well, I love cooking with you Gianpaolo, although mainly you are cooking and I’m just directing! I love when we make pasta with a mix of freshly caught seafood from our local seafood shop in the Hamptons. Everything from langoustine and shrimp to octopus and clams, it’s so delicious! I clean all the seafood and you make the sauce. When we are in Italy making this dish, you always catch the fish off the boat, and it makes the meal taste even better!
Gianpaolo: Ever since you bought the barbecue, I’ve really enjoyed throwing everything on there. From corn to branzino, steak and fresh veggies, it all taste great on the open flames.
What’s your favorite ingredient to use?
Gabby: I have three favorites that I use to spice up any dish: fresh Italian olive oil, sea salt and a touch of crushed red pepper.
Gianpaolo: Fresh Parmesan cheese. It’s such a nice addition to any dish.
What do you need with you in the kitchen?
Gabby: Lots of candles! Definitely in the summer a great bottle of Whispering Angel rosé and in the winter we always have Cotes Du Rhone red.
Gianpaolo: Great music is a must! Something with a good beat always gets me. It has to be my choice though, since we have such different tastes in music! Also, a nice glass of wine.
What’s the best thing about working with me?
Gabby: Your culture, your warmth, your smile—all around you are an inspiration.
Gianpaolo: You always help me to complete projects with your ideas and willingness to help.
What’s your first memory of cooking?
Gabby: Considering I learned how to cook with you, my first memory would be fishing off the boat in Ischia where you made me shuck fresh mussels and open them off the rocks. We went back to the house and made a seafood pasta. Before you, I only knew how to order in bagels and lox and Chinese food!
Gianpaolo: I remember making pasta primavera with my mother at a very young age. It’s a staple in her kitchen, in most Italian households, and she inspired our Spaghetti at Tutto Il Giorno Tribeca as well. It’s simple and classic, and reminds me of my mom.
What’s the hardest thing about running a restaurant?
Gabby: I think it’s the hardest industry in the world to be in. You always have to be on your toes and it’s all about your customers. You continuously have to re-invent the wheel, becoming better and better to stay relevant.
Gianpaolo: For us, we’re always trying to keep our demographic diverse. We love to appeal to people from all walks of life, from all backgrounds.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Gabby: Grilled fish, of course! My favorite is the Cartoccio (local fish baked in parchment paper, roasted tomato vinaigrette) we serve in Southampton.
Gianpaolo: I love Italian biscotti and dipping it in warm milk, so I’d take that everyday for the rest of my life if I had to.
What would be your ideal last meal?
Gabby: Chocolate cake!
Gianpaolo: A spoonful of Nutella.
What was your scariest moment in the kitchen?
Gabby: I am constantly over-cooking things, burning things, creating some fires. Basically anytime I’m in the kitchen something is bound to happen. Good thing I have you as the real chef!
Gianpaolo As an Italian, I’m terrified to overcook pasta. Although I’ve never done it, it would be the scariest thing that could happen to me in the kitchen!