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Meet Chef Alex Pilas

Meet Chef Alex Pilas

At Eataly, we are proud to work with world-class chefs, who transform simple, high-quality ingredients into the delicious dishes in our restaurants. We want you to get to know the people behind the food, so we are introducing you via our blog series, Meet the Chef. Today, we are pleased to introduce you to Eataly NYC Downtown Executive Chef Alex Pilas!

When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

When I was in college, I had a part-time job at a pub. I started with one night a week and loved it. Eventually it became my full-time job, while going to school at night. When I was offered the position of the chef, I realized this was my calling and left college to take over the kitchen. I was the chef and general manager of the pub by the time I left eight years later.

Did you train at an institute?

To learn about and experience a professional kitchen, I took a semester at the Hudson County Community College’s culinary school.

Tell us about your past professional experience.

I’ve been with the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group for over 10 years. My first position within the company was as a line cook at Lupa, where I rose up the ranks and became sous chef under Mark Ladner for five years. Then, I opened Del Posto with B&B as a sous chef and later became the executive banquet chef in charge of private dining and special events for four years. I left Del Posto in 2010 to open Eataly NYC Flatiron and have been the executive chef for Eataly USA ever since.

What is your specialty Italian dish?

Stinco di Vitello, which is braised veal shank.

What ingredients are you craving the most right now?

Since spring has finally arrived: ramps, heirloom tomatoes, and Mirai corn.

Do you have any quirks that your team teases you about?

I put food in plastic quart containers but forget to eat it and leave it in various places throughout Eataly. No one ever sees me eat, outside of tasting dishes.

If you weren’t a chef, what profession would you have?

In college, I was studying to be a medical technologist or a cytotechnologist.

Tell us a behind-the-counter secret about Eataly!

Ninety-five percent of the back-of-house staff have no formal training — most have transitioned from porters, dishwashers, and prep cooks — and I think they are among the best in the country. I am proud that they are with Eataly.

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Piacere di conoscerti, Chef Pilas: nice to meet you!