“If you want a fake personality, that’s not me,” Fanelli, who has been the executive chef at Manhattan’s Tre Dici since it opened 10 years ago, said during his interview.
“I don’t have tattoos, and I don’t have piercings. I am just a normal guy. I don’t stick out; my food sticks out.”
Whatever Fanelli, who lives in Sleepy Hollow and grew up in Elmsford, said in February worked because he is competing in an episode that airs on the Food Network at 10 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 2.
Fanelli also appeared in an episode of the network’s “Kitchen Casino,” which aired in June when he won $9,000.
During that same month, the 45-year-old chef began filming for “Chopped,” where he competed against three other chefs who had to complete three courses each within 30 minutes using mystery ingredients.
“When you’re in the line of fire, everything you’ve ever learned comes out at once,” said Fanelli. “Either you know it or you don’t. It’s all about your past and putting that forward.”
The cooking show even sent a film crew to Fanelli’s Sleepy Hollow home to watch the chef make meatballs with his two daughters, 6-year-old Antonia and 5-year-old Giovanna, and wife, Lisa.
“My youngest likes to tell everyone that ‘Daddy doesn’t know how to cook,’ so she spit it out,” Fanelli told Daily Voice. “She’s a little rebel. So, if they show that part, it’s going to be pretty funny.”
When Fanelli arrived at 6 a.m., he was debriefed on the show’s rules and what was expected of him until shooting began at 8 a.m.
“You see some people that go on this show and either they suck, and you’re like, 'What are you doing in the kitchen,' or some of them are brilliant, and you’re like 'Dude, that is badass,'” said Fanelli.
“I’m not saying I’m badass, but I was able to go blow for blow with some really great chefs. I can cook with the best of them.”
Fanelli hopes being on the show will help bring some exposure and hype to his future endeavor of opening up a restaurant in Westchester with the owner of Tre Dici.
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