Interview With Doreen DeMarco, New Sous Chef/Heir Apparent At American Sardine Bar

What’s the name?

Gaetano’s. In Willingboro.

Doreen Demarco, the new sous chef at American Sardine Bar.

Doreen DeMarco at a Food Hooch pop-up dinner in April 2014.

Did you just keep on working or did you go to culinary school?

I did not go to culinary school but my dad did, so my mom was super against it. She was like you don’t need it. He didn’t need to do it, but he did. My mom told me, stick with it, learn as you go, which I regret, but there is a lot of things I learned along the way. I worked at Gaetano’s for 12 years. I started at 15.

Where did you go from there?

I worked there part-time and then worked all around the city [Philly]. When I first moved over here around 2005, I started working at little places like The Pizza Place, Sonny’s on Market street. Then I expanded more, got more serious and started working at Resurrection Ale House. It was when Joe Chmiko was still the chef there. Before Rhett Vellner [the change happened in August 2012] was. I didn’t work there that long—five or six months—but I learned a lot there.

You were a line cook there?

No, actually prep. That’s how I got into the door at all these little spots.

Where did you go after Resurrection?

I worked in Manayunk at The Bayou for about two years. Then I went back to the pizza shop because it was really good money.

Which pizza shop?

[Laughs] 7th and Morris–The Pizza Place. It was just the easiest money at the time.

Do they have a ridiculous commercial? Like gap-toothed Hulk Hogan or anything like that?

No, that’s Not Just Pizza [laughs]. They never had a commercial. [It’s actually Uncle Tomy’s Pizza in South Philly]

Do they have good pizza?

No. It was good when I was there though [laughs].

Way to burn your bridges.

I left that because I made it onto the top 100 of MasterChef.

Which channel is that on?

Fox. It’s the Gordan Ramsay/Graham Elliot show.

Were you the out-of-control person? Were you really weepy or did you have a really dramatic story or were you crazy or angry and did you just want to fight everyone?

Noooo.

Did you threaten people?

I don’t know what kind of robotic character I was supposed to be.

Were you drug addled?

I think I was the competitive gay from South Philly. [Laughs]

Two boxes!!! For that competitive intensity, did they zoom in on your eyes a lot? Like in samurai movies?

No. They actually mentioned a lot about my rock, paper, scissor play. That’s what they were obsessed with. They were more into that then—it’s a ratings show. It’s a nerdy thing that nerdy people like.
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