Bristol native to slice his way through ‘Cutthroat Kitchen’

David Squillante will compete on the Food Network show next week

By Patrick Luce
Posted 8/4/16

Could a Bristol native become the next celebrity chef?

Fans of reality cooking TV will get a taste for David Squillante as he slices his way through the competition on the Food Network show …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Bristol native to slice his way through ‘Cutthroat Kitchen’

David Squillante will compete on the Food Network show next week

Posted

Could a Bristol native become the next celebrity chef?

Fans of reality cooking TV will get a taste for David Squillante as he slices his way through the competition on the Food Network show “Cutthroat Kitchen” on Aug. 10. The Mt. Hope High School graduate who grew up in Bristol and cut his teeth in the restaurant business washing dishes at the Lobster Pot will put his Portuguese and Italian flair for food to the test against three other chefs for the chance to win up to $25,000.

“I never would have done it if my grandmother hadn’t put a laptop in front of me and made me fill out the application,” Mr. Squillante said of auditioning for the show that contacted him six months later. “I had a Skype interview, multiple live interviews. It was a pretty cool process. They want to make sure you have personality. I definitely have that kind of goofy personality.”

The show pits four chefs against each other in a competition to cook the best tasting meal under less than ideal circumstances. The chefs don’t learn what they’ll be cooking until the competition starts, and they’re given only 60 seconds in the pantry to find every ingredient they need.

“I prepared before I went. I watched every episode twice,” Mr. Squillante said. “And still, 60 seconds feels like five seconds. You don’t know what the dish is until you’re there. If you don’t know the dish, you’re in trouble.”

You could also be in trouble from your fellow competitors, or cause trouble for them. “Cutthroat Kitchen” gives each chef $25,000 they can spend on gaining advantages for themselves or sabotaging their competitors. They pay for the right to steal ingredients, destroy needed utensils or send opponents to cook in a kitchen that is less than gourmet. The winner after three rounds keeps whatever money he has left.

“They might make you cook in a canoe or something,” Mr. Squillante said. “The whole point is to sabotage your opponents. They want to see if in a bad situation, you can still cook something good.”

Cooking is in Mr. Squillante’s blood. Growing up in Bristol, he would tag along with his father to work at the concession stand he owned at Bristol Town Beach. He spent lots of time with his Portuguese and Italian grandparents, who instilled in him the ethnic flair he brings to his cuisine.

“In my grandparents’ garden, I learned what a fresh tomato was. I learned what traditional family cuisine was growing up,” he said. “I love New England food, and I try to add in my Portuguese and Italian heritage to make it my own. I want people to see their own heritage and put it in their food.”

While working at the Lobster Pot, Mr. Squillante was inspired to pursue cooking as a career, enrolling at Johnson & Wales University, where he graduated with a culinary degree. After that, he traveled the world, cooking in Asiago, Italy, for World Cup VIPs in Germany, and in South Africa, picking up a wealth of cooking traditions and styles along the way.

Back in the states, Mr. Squillante worked with current Roger Williams University chef John Cambra at Catle Hill in Newport, where “I kept growing as a chef,” he said. After working at a few restaurants around Newport, Mr. Squillante headed north, taking a head chef position with Shipyard Brewing Company in Maine, cooking in a production kitchen for the brewery’s 15 restaurants, brew pubs and custom online orders.

“Everything we cook here is from scratch,” Mr. Squillante said, noting some of his favorites, including crab cakes, haddock cakes and clam chowder (with Portuguese chourico added). He also creates the sauses and dressings used in the restaurants, all his own creations. “Everything is fresh, made by hand.”

Mr. Squillante is an award-winning chef, having been honored on three occasions specifically for his Portuguese chowder. Family, friends and fans of Mr. Squillante’s will be hoping for another award to come his way next Wednesday, Aug. 10 at 9 p.m. A watch party has been scheduled at Judge Roy Bean at Thames and State streets starting at 7:30, where fans can watch Mr. Squillante’s performance with the chef himself. Of course, having taped the show in November, Mr. Squillante already knows how he did, but he can’t spill the beans before the episode airs.

“I did OK though. I did very well,” he said. “It was an amazing experience. I’m blessed to have done it.”

And will the next celebrity TV chef be born?

“I don’t know about that. If something came along, I’d consider it,” Mr Squillante said. “But I love my job. I’m very content with where I am.”

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

2021 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.