Introducing Pippin Hill’s Executive Chef, Bill Scatena
Thinking the Scatena name sounds familiar? You’d be right! Bill is the brother of our former chef, Amalia Scatena, who recently ventured to Charleston to helm the culinary team at our sister property, Cannon Green.
Though we’re sad to bid adieu to Amalia, we’re excited to welcome Bill, who served as Sous Chef alongside his sister for three years and now leads our culinary team as the Executive Chef.
An Early Respect
Scatena first developed a love for food when he was a teenager. His parents were avid travelers with a fondness for culinary experiences. Pictured above, Bill shoots an oyster with his mom at the Farmer’s Market Ferry Building in San Francisco.
“At a young age, Amalia and I had the fortunate opportunity to experience food – its flavors, textures, smells, and even its background. It was the experience of various food cultures that helped evolve an internal passion and appreciation for food.” Chef Scatena shared.
While most teens yearn for fast food hamburgers and french fries, Bill craved flank steaks prepared at home.
“I quickly developed a desire for more than potato chips and soda. Watching my parents combine simple ingredients to create big flavors was fascinating. From this, I developed a genuine respect for food, especially when it was given a little love.”
The Art of Food
Surprisingly, Scatena didn’t always have plans to become a Chef. Bill was enrolled in art school in Colorado where he balanced classwork with a part time job at a local pizza parlor.
“The job was primarily entry level, cutting veggies and prepping ingredients. One night, I filled in for our pizza master, and it was that night that sparked my curiosity in the culinary world. Before I knew it, I was making the sauce and dough, and dishing pizza’s in the oven.”
After a stint at the pizza parlor, Bill moved back to Charlottesville to pursue the culinary arts. At that time, Amalia was Chef de Cuisine at Keswick Hall. With a little help from his sister, Bill landed a position in the kitchen and quickly worked his way up to Lead Line Cook.
In his time at Keswick, Scatena’s interest in food began eclipsing that of art school. He credits his art background as a major influence on the plates he creates.
“From the organization and perception to the colors and textures – each plate is uniquely assembled to be pleasing not only to the palette, but to the naked eye. Food is art, and for me – that is infusing sweet and salty, smooth and crunchy, dark and bright into one plate that just comes together and makes sense.” Chef Scatena says.
At Pippin Hill, we champion a menu of fresh, locally sourced ingredients from our farm partners and even Pippin Hill’s own kitchen garden. Rather than visualizing a dish first and then procuring the ingredients, Bill takes inspiration from the ingredients readily available, and finds creative ways to use them.
He says, “Seasons are too short to feature everything on the menu all at once. We pick ingredients as influenced by the climate, and change our seasonal menu to reflect what’s local, what’s fresh.”
The Chef also appreciates a glass of wine with his meals. We agree with Bill that wine makes special occasions out of otherwise ordinary moments.
“There are certain occasions for wine to be enjoyed. I look forward to a prime ribeye paired with a nice, robust Northern Italian Wine or our Merlot Reserve. It’s all about setting the moment, and turning flavors into memories.”
When asked to give advice to those pursuing the culinary arts, Chef Scatena’s philosophy is simple: love food.
“Love food, and have a love for food. Have respect for food as you would for your mother or father, and treat them in the same breadth. It helps me channel my thoughts to create something that people really enjoy. If you put love into your food, people can taste that.”
Photo Credit: Image 1: Eric Kelley Photography, Image 3 & 5: Andrea Hubbell