Chef’s Corner with Keira Moritz
A fine mix of Northern Italian and a traditional steakhouse, Chef Keira brings her insatiable appreciation for Italian food to Atlanta’s Midtown scene at Pacci located at the trendy Hotel Palomar! journeyPod got a chance to chat with the culinary diva…
How did you get your start in cooking?
I was about to finish a degree at VSU in my hometown and decided to take a break, I packed up my car and drove across country to Wyoming and got a job waiting tables and prepping in a kitchen in exchange for a small monthly pay and a communal living space. Next a cook didn’t show up and I stepped in to fill his space, and that is where I continued cooking from.
Tell us a little bit about the cuisine at Pacci:
Pacci is contemporary northern Italian with a steak house flare – it blends a bit of comfort with my style and creates something for everyone, with a menu featuring pastas, steaks and seafood.
What are 3 ingredients you can’t cook without?
Tomatoes, salt, butter
What would we find in your refrigerator at home?
Nothing perishable, I don’t buy perishable things because they always go bad before I eat them, so cereal is a mainstay, and yogurt and granola are always around.
What is your favorite culinary destination?
Spain, I love street food, I think the heart of a country’s food is street food where the true soul of a cuisine is found. Hate to say it but the United States does not have street food, and tends to fill that gap by way of fast food which fortunately I don’t eat, hope that doesn’t make me a snob but I think it may.
Have you cooked for any celebrities?
I’ve cooked for a musician in town for a concert, which the guys in the kitchen loved.
On your night off, where do you like to head for a bite to eat in Atlanta?
La Tavola Trattoria and Fontaines. I live a short walking distance from the Highlands; I think La Tavola does good things, and so does Fontaines with their oysters and crab legs.
Advice for a cooking enthusiast?
Have fun with it; there really is nothing illegal when it comes to experimentation, and don’t forget to make a dinner party easy enough that you are part of the party as well.
Could you share one of your signature recipes with us?!
1 small bottle capers
3 cups sun dried tomatoes
½ cup garlic
1 cup Kalamata olives
1 pint olive oil blend
Pour capers into container whole, chop all other ingredients into the container, add olive oil and mix.
Yes it is really that easy!