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?! 

Keira’s Tapenade

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!

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