Q&A with Chef Frank Giglio
Chef Frank Giglio is truly living. A thriving catering business owner, recipe development consultant, author, hunter, master food preserver, and father…. this man is living off-the grid in Maine, and is a true inspiration to me. His passion for cooking transcends the kitchen, as he forages, grows, pickles, ferments, and preserves his food, Frank truly honour his relationship with the planet. Many years ago he was actually a raw vegan, and his transformative journey with food and notion of sustainability and union with the planet are profound.
Today, Frank co-runs Three Lily Provisions, a culinary based business offering gorgeous products, live and virtual cooking classes, recipes, and inspiration to enhance your life through food and a closer connection to nature.
You can find all the links to connect with Frank at the bottom of this Q&A.
Q&A with Chef Frank Giglio
1. what time is your alarm set for?
2. what did you have for breakfast?
2 eggs sunny side up with bacon and maitake mushrooms.
3. what are you currently working on to better your Self?
As of late, it has become important for me to put more focus on myself and to do the things that make me happy and fulfilled. That includes, spending time with my children, being outdoors as much as possible, cooking, foraging, and engaging with my community.
4. what book do you think everyone should read?
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
5. what is your favourite way to sweat?
Currently, Splitting and Hauling Firewood
6. who is one of your biggest inspirations?
So many, but my MOM is tops!
7. what is the last thing you purchased?
All American 21 quart Pressure Canner
8. what is best advice you've ever received?
“Love should always be the #1 ingredient in everything you cook”
9. what is something you can’t live without?
My Bloodroot Blades Nakiri knife
10. what does a typical dinner look like for you?
It really depends on the seasons, but currently moose, wild mushrooms, and my preserved vegetables
11. what is on your night stand?
Herbal tinctures, homemade beeswax candles, quart of water, my journal, and some crumpled receipts!
12. if you could only have one (for the rest of your life): chocolate, or avocado
Chocolate for sure!
a Deeper Dive
1. When did your love for food/ cooking begin? Who taught you how to cook?
Growing up in an Italian-American family, food has always been an important part of our heritage and family. I remember many delicious meals prepared by my grandparents when I was a young child and felt the connection to the food. That being said, I was a rather picky eater and i gradually began to develop a love for food the more I worked in kitchens. At 15, I stepped into my first professional kitchen and was immediately drawn to the lifestyle. Slowly I gained the skilled and better understanding for tasting and seasoning. I owe a lot to several mentors early on in my career for teaching me the basics and giving me the confidence to work anywhere.
2. How did your relationship to the bridge between food/ nourishment and the planet/ sustainability transform over the years?
This was a gradual awakening for me that began over a decade ago. In an attempt to feel better in my body, I made a major change in my diet, going vegan overnight and giving up many habits that no longer served me. As I became healthier and more aware about the industrialized food system, I began to have a better understand of how the dollars I spend on food affect the planet. Initially I was under the impression that so long as you stopped eating animals, one could “save” the planet. It wasn't until I went back to being an omnivore and focusing strongly on wild and locally based ingredients that gave me a deeper connection to the landscape. This connection showed me how I could work with the landscape and not against it.
3. What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
The first meal that comes to mind is the suckling pig from Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka 3 in Ubud, Indonesia. Whole pigs are roasted daily and the plate provides a serving of several different cuts, including one delicious crisp skin and some sort of sausage, possibly containing the blood. On the side was rice, chili peppers, and a simple preparation of long beans. You step up, remove your shoes and take your plate to a empty space and sit cross legged. Its crowded, noisy, and just perfect. The simplicity of the meal that also packed so much flavor stands out so well to me.
4. What has got you super excited in the kitchen lately?
2018 has been all about food preservation for me. I took part in a 10 week course through the University of Maine and became very inspired to “put up” as much food as I could this year. From maple syrup in late winter to drying mushrooms in the fall, gaining more skills and experience in the area of preserving food has allowed me to expand my culinary capabilities and creativity.
5. What advice do you have for someone who wants to dive into the world of food preservation?
Start small. Food preservation is a vast world so it’s great to pick one particular topic and go from there. Find a class locally or pick up a book or two at the library. Check out the farmer’s market and see what’s in season and in abundance. Just learning how to freeze properly is a great place to start. From there, maybe some ferments and next thing you know, maybe a water bath canner.
6. What is one of your greatest wishes for your children, and how are you helping them cultivate that as their father?
There is a lot of uncertainty in this world today and I cannot predict what the future will look like. But my hope is that I can raise them to break the lineages of the past and cultivate love for all beings. It is vital for me to encourage them to respect themselves, others, nature, and be involved in their community. At 40, it has taken me a long time to understand a few things about life, much of what I had to learn on my own, the hard way, with strong lessons along the way. I hope I can make that process a bit easier for them by being emotionally available for them throughout their life. The greatest gift I have received is two boys to raise into men. I am blessed.