Meet your host

Debra Shapiro

Portrait by John Lusis, spring 2008

Debra Shapiro grew up wanting to be an artist, and majored in art history in college. This turned out to be the perfect background for years of restaurant work, where she discovered that cooking was her true art form. Deb calls herself a cook, rather than a chef – she did not attend culinary school, but learned her cooking skills at her mother’s knee, and on the job in restaurants.

She is interested in giving people the chance to experience well-prepared, home-cooked food, by cooking for them, and/or teaching them to cook themselves. She’s not as interested in pushing food to the heighths of up-to-the minute chefery, like cooking sous-vide, gels and foams and mists, or any food that comes on a specially designed serving piece (design by Martin Kastner for Alinea); she prefers to leave that to others.

Deb aspires to be like Patricia Wells, rather than Thomas Keller (although she does have a slightly superstitious belief that if she had not been born 10 weeks prematurely, in August of 1955, she and Keller would share the same birthday).

“Let there be peace at the dinner table”

Al Shapiro