Raised in a family of cooks—his mother was a practiced home chef, his uncle was a seafood impresario, his grandfather a master of rustic cooking—Joe Brancaccio’s ingress to the culinary world started at home. Born and raised on the outskirts of Manhattan, Joe brings a well-honed background to the Kidfresh team.
He attended St. John’s University where he pursued a degree in Finance and Economics with the intention of opening a restaurant of his own. After graduation he secured his first post at Urbino, a simple Italian eatery in New York’s West Village. His interest piqued, he began taking beginner’s classes at the French Culinary Institute, before signing on at the Institute of Culinary Education (formerly Peter Kump’s) in 1995. Joe externed at Montrachet while finishing school, later claiming a spot on the line at Lundy’s restaurant in Brooklyn. Turning tables in this 800-seat eatery in Sheepshead Bay, he got his first taste of working in a high-volume kitchen.
After three years, he joined the team at Agata & Valentina on the Upper East Side where within a month he was named sous-chef. Using the products available in the market, Joe was able to work through a wealth of Mediterranean flavors informed by his love of Italian cookery. Joe spent nine years working his way through the kitchen, ultimately emerging as Chef de Cuisine. In December of 2006, he traded in his branzino for PB&J when he signed on as the chef at Kidfresh.
“I’m ready to explore another aspect of cooking,” he says. “There’s a definite move towards incorporating science into the kitchen. Being mindful of children’s health and how the products I work with affect different age groups in distinct ways is a reflection of that trend.”