What does Alex Guarnaschelli look for in a restaurant?

I think I have a couple of different things that make me go in certain places. One, I love when there’s a signature food [dish] in a place where I am — for example, the fried stuffed ravioli in St. Louis. I always find out and research signature foods. I love knowing what’s local in terms of ingredients and an iconic food.

I always try to go to the farmers market wherever I am. I think it’s so telling of a place. I like to look at the vegetables. And then of course, I’m also driven by people — people that I’ve met that I love, people that are interesting, someone who’s written a great cookbook — and that propels me to go to the restaurant. It’s not just cutting edge [food] because I have to say I also like seafood and that is not like what I make. I love to eat Italian food. I love good Chinese food. I think the great Chinese restaurant is a dying art.

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