I was so lucky to have grown up in a family that was obsessed with cooking-- my mother is a phenomenal baker and cook, and my dad can hardly wait for it to be Sunday and his famous 'Sunday Sauce' or a big roast. Us kids have always been involved, it's natural, and we love every second. Though I went to college and received degrees in Interior Design & Architecture, I applied to the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park during in high school . My dad talked me out of it saying "Derek, you can ALWAYS cook, no matter what you do!"

About 8 years ago my uncle opened an artisan food store, and named it "Rosario Pino's" after my grandfather. It specialized in unique and special Italian foods, and even had a cooking school! We had chefs from many of the great restaurants in town, and of course, me, the in house chef! I taught classes regularly, they were predominately Italian based, they sold out quick, and they were a ton of fun!

For each class I made a new and unique menu and a complete recipe book, full of tips and notes for everyone to take home. The store and cooking school was a hit for years. Luckily after closing the cooking school, I was asked by clients and friends to go to their house and cook! Some were larger parties, some were smaller parties; some were instruction based, and for some I was just in the background. Though it isn't an "every day" profession, it is so great and so much fun to never let go of a passion!

How it 

All Began

Private Chef & Cooking Classes


As you could see, I luckily didn't have to let go of cooking!

And luckily for you, there's a lot of flexibility!

  • People: I've done private events and instructions for 4-6, and 14-16, your choice​​.

  • Involvement: Some clients like to tend to the party and their guests and check back in as each course is ready. Some are just the opposite, they like to watch and learn as I walk them through each course, answer questions, offer tips and suggestions. I've also had plenty of clients who wanted to join in with some hands-on participation!

  • Timing: Most of this is pretty flexible, so long as there is a 2 week minimum notice and provided I am free. The event usually lasts for about 3 hours or so, it depends on the meal.

How does it all work?

Usually I try to visit your home shortly after you contact me. I like to get a feel for your space and what you have available and what I would need to bring. Coming over gives me an idea where things are, how much space I have to work with, and if I can offer any other suggestions or ideas. We sit down and discuss the budget, design the menu, and plan the timing and logistics of the night. It usually last about an hour but is well worth it!