The man behind the meals at What's For Dinner is Tony Rinella, an experienced and creative chef who grew up in the Upper Valley. We asked him a few questions about his approach to creating great dinners delivered straight to your home.
How did you learn to be a Chef?
I received my formal training to be a Chef in the United States Army. Then after I got out of the Army I worked for a variety of different restaurants where I gained more hands on skills on what it takes to run a kitchen. I was 22 years old when the Chef at the restaurant I worked at in Quechee, VT quit and the owners asked me to fill the position. I read a lot of cookbooks, and put the skills I learned in the Army to good use, as I was the Executive Chef at Fire Stones for seven years. I moved to MA in 2005 to take a position as the Executive Chef at Caffe Tosca in Hingham on the South Shore. From there I traveled for a few years and then moved back to the Upper Valley (where I grew up) in 2013 to take an Executive Chef position at The Lyme Inn. I met Lisa while I was at The Lyme Inn and after we started our family decided that we wanted to work for ourselves.
How do you decide what to put on the menu each week?
There are a lot of factors that determine whether or not a dish is suitable for our menu such as, is it cost effective? Will it re-heat without losing quality? Would it appeal to an entire family? etc. I start by brainstorming dishes that I think will appeal to an entire family. Then I fill the menu with a good mix of vegetarian options, fish or seafood options, pasta dishes and or lasagna dishes and some meat options. As our business has grown, we have gotten feedback from some of our members who order every week and we run certain menu items with their families in mind. It is because we have gotten to know our regular clients needs and wants that our menu has such a variety of gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, and low carb items.
Tell us about your commercial kitchen/ workspace:
We work out of the kitchen at Whaleback Ski Area in Enfield, NH. We think it's a great partnership with another small local business. It benefits Whaleback because it's good to have a kitchen that would otherwise sit vacant in the off season be used and cleaned on a regular basis. We are fortunate that even during the ski season, our hours of operation and their hours of operation do not overlap. The kitchen is well suited for our needs, including ample refrigeration which is crucial when cooking and cooling meals for 150+ people. Flat top grill, char grill, ovens, and ranges round out the equipment used to cook A LOT of food!
What is one thing people don't know about being a Chef?
Most of my meals are consumed standing up hovering over a trash can! When people ask, "Do you eat the food that you cook?" The honest answer is yes, but almost never sitting down at a table with the meal on a plate with a knife and fork. A good Chef always tastes as they go, to ensure a delicious dish, not just assuming it will be delicious because they follow a recipe.
What people are saying about What's for Dinner:
“You know what’s great??? We get home last night at like 8:30 after 2 baseball games and sitting on my doorstep is this cooler FILLED with an incredible dinner all ready!! It was so nice to be able to just heat it up and feed the fam! We ordered from “What’s for dinner?”. We got the steak fajita’s and they were AH-MAZING! Everyone loved them and Garrett even took some for lunch today!! Thanks so much Lisa and Tony for providing such a great service to our community! We will definitely be ordering again!!” ~ Jessica
This blog is written by Lisa Rinella and sponsored by What's for Dinner?
Yes, we deliver right to your door! Check out our menu this week by visiting our website, http://www.whatsfordinnernh.com/.
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