Monthly Archives: September 2013

Lessons From a Blue Crab

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

People always ask me when I started cooking. I am not sure exactly when but my memories always bring me back to the kitchen with my Dad making sauce. I didn’t have the chance to know my grandma Dot for that long but every week my Dad would make her sauce and tell my sister and I stories about her. It wasn’t long before I memorized the ingredients and started making it myself. What really stood out was blue crab sauce. My Dad always told me stories of how he would bring home buckets of blue crabs and no matter what time he got home at night, my Grandma Dot would wake up and help him clean the crabs. His harvest would always last through the winter but he always remembered the special nights he and Grandma spent cleaning the crabs.
Why did this shape the way I cook? Well besides the stories of my Grandma, when harvested, blue crabs are always kept alive until they are cleaned. Now my Dad brings home all sorts of wild game and fish but the only thing he ever brings home alive (so far anyway) is blue crabs. It always fascinates me how we would have this live creature at one moment and the next it was the most delicious dinner you could imagine. It made me understand that food doesn’t just come from a supermarket and wrapped in plastic. It has never bothered me that we were eating something we just harvested. To be honest I would rather know where my food comes from rather than to just eat what’s there and not have that understanding that it takes hard work and often a life to sustain us.
To be honest my Dad and I are always sad when we are cleaning crabs or any fish or animal that we harvest but this has taught me firsthand the respect and appreciation of where our foods come from and I am ok with that. This thinking makes me understand that not only is life precious but also that we need to take care of the environment in which we live. Harvesting, preparing and eating local and sustainable food is a key part of our life style. Who would have thought it all started with a crab?

Larb Shark Swimming in Thai Pesto, as seen on Rachael vs Guy episode 3

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
Larb Shark

Larb Shark

4 cubanelle – peppers opened and seeded
2 lb ground pork
1 lb rice noodles
1 cup cilantro
¼ cup cashews
¼ cup basil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 onion, diced
2 cans coconut milk
Fish sauce
Soy sauce
Tamarind paste (1/2 tsp)
Peanut oil
1 tsp ginger, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk lemongrass
1 tsp- Cumin, coriander, nutmeg, allspice, salt, brown sugar, cayenne and turmeric
¼ 1b pancetta, sliced

-Roast cubanelles w salt, pepper and peanut oil for 15 minutes (try not to burn your head)
-Start your noodles; boil for 10 minutes, or until tender
-In a food processor, blend cashews, basil, cilantro, fish sauce (a dash), soy, 2 cloves garlic and salt to taste. Drizzle in ½ cup peanut oil.
-Sauté on high heat, and add pork, pancetta, onion, garlic, lemongrass, ginger and spices. Deglaze pan with coconut milk and add 1tsp tamarind paste and let simmer for 10 minutes
-Mix noodles with pesto and lay across your plate. Stuff peppers with the larb and set on top of your noodles.
-Garnish with cilantro and enjoy!!

My first newspaper interview!

Friday, September 6th, 2013


Check out my very first interview for a newspaper, so cool!

“Stamford resident Jake Hunter Zampa is a cooking show star, part of a new reality TV program featuring celebrity chefs Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri. The twist is that he is only 13-years-old and one of eight contestants who are on a new Food Network web series, “Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off” premiering Sept. 8. This young chef, who likes to go by his middle name Hunter, is one of eight young contestants on the show who are split between “Team Rachael” and “Team Guy” and spend four episodes highlighting their young culinary talents in the kitchen. Each week, kid contestants are scored by guest celebrities on assigned cooking challenges.  At the end of the competition, the kid cook with the highest overall score will win his or her own web series on The Food Network…”

Read the rest here:

Scott Gargen interviewed me!

Friday, September 6th, 2013
An interview I did for a local blog with Scott Gargen and the Stamford Advocate, it was amazing!
“Hunter Zampa still has a few more years before he can apply to culinary school. Fortunately for the 13-year-old chef, he’s already had the opportunity to train under some top rate teachers. Zampa, of Stamford, is one of eight contestants starring on a new Food Network series, “Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off” premiering Sunday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m….”