Brian Magliochette adapted corporate restaurant skills to become a noted private chef.
Chef Brian Magliochette got his first taste of cooking in the kitchen with his grandmothers. Simple recipes and techniques brought them together—he was thrilled to learn the basics of cooking eggs, for instance. That early-instilled passion for food may have taken the back burner during his teenage years, when a love for sports became his main focus. But when he found himself searching for direction later in life, unsure what major to pursue in college or career to aim for, those early moments in the kitchen came back to him. “I sat down and really started to think, and dug really deep,” he says. “I figured that, besides sports, cooking was something that I was passionate about. So I decided to jump into culinary school right then.”
Now under Magliochette’s belt: a four-year stint at Monterey Bay Fish Grotto in Pittsburgh and a 12-year career with The Cheesecake Factory, where he worked as executive chef. His journey has led him to where he is now—making a career as a private chef, partnering with individual clients as well as Barn with Inn and the Sarah Miller House in Wellsburg in the Northern Panhandle to provide intimate, upscale, carefully cultivated meals
How does working as a private chef compare with your previous positions? What lessons did you take away from those jobs?
The difference is more creative freedom, more time, and really getting to do what I want. It’s way more intimate being a private chef, you know—you’re able to converse with people because you’re in their house. What I took away from my past jobs is a lot more of the business side. The Cheesecake Factory was an excellent learning experience, and I pretty much got to see every angle of the restaurant business through them, opening restaurants from the beginning to the end.
How much of your menus now are all you, and how much do you collaborate with your clients?
I’d say probably 80 to 90% is me. I have so many menus now. I have them categorized for each month and have four or five years’ worth. When I take on a private event, I get an idea of what they want. Some are very specific, and they want a steak tenderloin dish and a seafood dish. Others, I can do whatever I want.
Where do you find your menu inspiration? How much depends on seasonal offerings?
A lot of it is the seasonal, regional things we can get around the area from different farms. I try to get stuff as local as possible, pulling from a lot of farms in Pittsburgh, Washington, Pennsylvania, all around West Virginia, and a little bit of Ohio, too. I also have a strong Italian background, so we lean toward Italian cuisine a lot of the time.
Some believe that West Virginia’s future is going to be based around food and tourism. Would you agree with that?
Yes, definitely. You can see it with the pandemic and everything else. Everyone was ready to do something, and a lot more people are gravitating toward outdoor events, local, farm-to-table type of things. And people are showing a lot more interest in knowing where their food is coming from. You can see that expanding throughout the state.
What’s next for you? Is there anything you haven’t done yet that you want to aim for in the future?
The next goal is cooking internationally. And it’s actually something we’re working on with our friends from DiTrapano Olive Oil. We just did a dinner with them this year, and we’re working on a trip over to Italy to their villa. Up to four couples, eight people, and including five dinners, lunches, and breakfasts while we stay there, making a whole Italian experience out of it.