You may have seen Philly’s own Kristina Wisneski recently on an episode of Chopped (which she won by the way) or perhaps cooking up a storm in any of her past restaurants, Savona and Zavino Hospitality Group. But now, you can catch the culinary grad serving up enticing dishes at Devon’s hotspot eatery Amis Trattoria. Wisneski has been at Amis since August 2018 working under culinary superstar Brad Spence, and the young hotshot has been killing it in the kitchen and on TV. Wisneski sat down with Metro to chat about her experience on Chopped, her career aspirations and how a restaurant full of patrons may test your limits more than a panel of judges.
What was the best and worst part about being on Chopped?
The best part of it was getting to go and experience something like that. On a normal day when I’m in the kitchen, I’m not competing against anyone else. So that was really exciting, to get out of the kitchen and do something that I normally wouldn’t do. The worst part about it was the anxiety that comes with it- it was very nervewracking.
How did you end up competing on Chopped?
It was crazy, I was actually having a really terrible day and I was sitting outside just taking a five-minute breather from the kitchen. Then the phone rang, my co-worker called me in and said ‘chef oh my god’! I thought something bad had happened but they handed me the note with the message from Chopped. At first, I wasn’t really excited because I thought oh what are the chances I’ll actually get to be on the show? Then if I do, what are the chances I’m actually going to win? But I went through the interview process with them and I ended up being on the show which was absolutely amazing. But initially, I was just like oh, crap this is serious? I thought it was a joke at first.
What about Amis? How did you end up working there?
I ended up there by chance. I had actually just started looking for a new position, but then it worked out that chef Brad called me and basically said he had heard about me from someone and knew I was looking for a job. They were looking for a new chef at their restaurant that was opening and they asked me in for an interview. I had always gone to Amis, so that was very exciting for me because it was honestly one of my favorite restaurants in Philadelphia to go too. When I got the chance to interview I was really, really excited. Especially because of how awesome Brad is and all the stuff he does in the food industry- it was really cool.
So what’s harder, competing on Chopped or a crazy Saturday night at Amis?
An insane Saturday night at Amis for sure. Just because you never know what’s going to happen or who’s going to complain about what. That sounds terrible but it’s true, no one’s ever fully happy with things. It’s really difficult because it is always changing on a daily basis. On “Chopped”- not that I knew what to expect, but I watched it a bunch of times. So I thought oh, okay I get the idea at least with what it is and how I’m competing.
What are some of your favorite dishes to make?
My home cooking is very different from work, I guess I don’t take that much time to cook at home because I cook all the time. But at work, I love making the fresh pasta and coming up with new pasta dishes- it’s always exciting. But at home, I definitely stick more towards comfort food. Something that I can pop in the oven while hanging out for a little while and not have to worry about it. But there are a lot of times that my roommate and I will get steak and scallops and do nice dinners like that too.
What are your career goals and aspirations for the future?
For right now I plan on staying in restaurants because I like it, I like the adrenaline of Saturday night and Friday night when it’s super crazy. I also love getting to make my own menu. I think one day I’ll eventually wander into teaching or something like that because that’s what I do on a normal basis anyway. I’m constantly teaching, which is great but I think doing something for a college or maybe going to Penn Tech where I went to school might be really cool. Maybe even a restaurant consultant. Or, I always joke with Brad that I’m going to steal his job from him one day and be a Culinary Director. I think that in this industry since there are just so many options, I’m just not 100 percent sure.
Amis is located in URBN’s lifestyle complex the Devon Yard at 138 Lancaster Ave #140, Devon, PA. To learn more visit amistrattoria.com