Meet the Chef – Mitch Terricciano

Mitch Terricciano of Ti Novo
By Paul Giorgio

Mitch Terricciano opened Ti Novo, one of Worcester’s premier restaurants, after converting the former GAR Hall, a turn-of-the-19th-century building in downtown Worcester, into the elegant, welcoming space that it is now.

First of all, were did you get the name for your restaurant?
It’s my take on “new beginning” or “starting over” ~ the two years it took to put this place together.

Where did you learn to cook?
It started with my mother and I’m still learning. I’m a 1979 graduate of the CIA in New York, but I don’t know if anyone really learns to cook in culinary school.

Where did you work prior to opening Ti Novo?
I worked for 15 years at Tiano’s ~ and at The Ocean House in Dennis on Cape Cod before that.

What kind of food do you like to cook?
I’m in my Thai phase; I like a lot of Asian stuff.

What is your favorite meal?
My favorite meal is breakfast because I get to have it with my family.

What is your favorite food to cook?
A perfect steak on the grill ~ it’s simple.

What are you favorite flavors?
I like bold flavors ~ ginger, garlic, fennel and star anise.

What are your favorite spices?
It depends on what I’m making ~ but you can’t make a good dish without salt and pepper.

What made you come to Worcester?

My father saw the old Rossi’s restaurant and he took 9 months getting me here.

Why did you open another restaurant in Worcester?

Because I’m crazy.
Why now downtown?

I fell in love with the building. It’s as one-of-a-kind as Sophia Loren. If the building were on Burncoat St., I still would have bought it.

Who is your cooking idol?
I love Gordon Ramsay ~ he makes me look like less of a pr*ck!

What is your greatest cooking triumph?
Working for the World Yacht Corp. and cooking for 400 on a boat with just battery power.

Do you remember the meal?
Absolutely. It was seared tenderloin.

What was your greatest cooking disaster?
I cooked six hotel pans of corned beef for St Patrick’s Day and forgot the water-so we had burnt corned beef and no cabbage. Never let an Italian cook corned beef.

What are three things in your home refrigerator?
A gallon of mayo, good stinky cheese, and kimchi ~ which is pickled cabbage.

Who is the most famous person for whom you’ve cooked?
Jackie O ~ it was at Kennedy Compound in I think 1985 for Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wedding.

How often do you go out to eat?
Whenever I have time off.

What is your favorite restaurant?
Fore Street grille in Portland, Maine ~ never had a bad meal there. And around here I love Willy’s Steakhouse in Shrewsbury.

If you could invite three people to dinner, who would they be?
I would invite Steven King, because he is crazier than I am, President Bush to find out what the F he’s thinking, and Cameron Diaz…for obvious reasons.