East Boston native and Cunard Tavern’s Executive Chef Anthony Pino made his debut on the Food Network’s hit show Chopped last Tuesday night.
Chopped is a reality-based cooking television game show. The series pits four chefs against each other as they compete for a chance to win $10,000.
While Pino was eliminated, or ‘Chopped’, during the show’s second round, the Eastie chef said it was a great opportunity that he had a lot of fun doing.
“What you see on the show is 100 percent legit,” said Pino. “You have no idea what ingredients they are going to give you until you open up the basket and start the timer.”
In the first round, Pino and the three other chefs were presented with long fries, baby cauliflower, Korean taco sauce and frog legs.
Pino presented the judges with beer-battered frog leg with baby cauliflower slaw. All the judges were impressed by the appetizer and commented that the frog legs were cooked perfectly and the slaw was flavorful. Chef and owner of Fox & Son in Philly, Rebecca Foxman, was the first chef to be chopped and Pino advanced to the second round.
Pino and the other chefs were presented with tornado fries, chicken thighs, okra and bubble tea as ingredients for their next course.
Pino presented the judges with oven-fried chicken thigh with red curry-bubble tea sauce. While the judges complimented Pino on his use of ingredients they felt the dish didn’t overwhelm them as much as the other two chef’s dishes.
“It’s a lot of rushing and you only have one shot to get it right,” said Pino. “It’s not like cooking in the restaurant or at home where if you make a mistake you can start over.”
In the end Pino said he’d definitely give Chopped another shot and was glad to represent his hometown.
“It was a lot of fun and a little bit stressful but in a good way,” said Pino. “I was just glad to be able to represent Eastie and put the Cunard on national television. I hope that people that saw the show will come check us out next time they fly into Logan or check out the food scene in the neighborhood that is just as good as anywhere else in the city. I hate when people say Eastie’s food scene is ‘up and coming’ because it is already here and been here for a while.”
Born and raised in East Boston, Pino has been working in the local restaurant industry since his teenage years and then landed here as the executive chef at the Cunard after stints in New Hampshire.
Growing up just down the street from the current location of Cunard, Pino’s childhood was shaped by the East Boston restaurant community. A family man who was committed to serving his neighborhood, Pino’s father owned a popular East Boston ice cream shop where Pino remembers getting his first taste of the restaurant business and the passion that it entails. After lending a hand in his father’s ice cream shop as a young boy, Pino landed his first restaurant job washing dishes and folding boxes at his uncle’s East Boston pizza shop.
Pino graduated from Johnson and Wales University with degrees in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management.
After graduation, Pino honed his culinary skills in some of New England’s busiest restaurants, such as Spinelli’s in East Boston and as a line chef at Brooksby Village in Peabody before advancing to Chef de Cuisine at the Windsor Dining Room in Brooksby Village for several years.
Before coming to the Cunard in 2017 Pino served as Executive Chef at BAE Systems in Nashua, NH.