Sam Badolato

Fabulous People: Sam Badolato

“Chopped” finalist Sam Badolato is the executive winery chef at Kenwood Inn & Spa in Sonoma County and private chef with Chef Sam’s Table. Learn about Chef Sam Badolato…

First job: I was a newspaper delivery boy. Started with 25 homes in the morning before school. Grew the territory and acquired another person’s territory of 45 homes. Then on Sundays, the paper went to 65 more homes with all the ads and coupons. 

What do you do in your free time: It’s pretty seasonal, like my menus! In the summer and fall, I like trail hiking, running and mountain biking. Then in the winter and spring, you can find me downhill skiing and snowshoeing. I like machines, motorcycles and snowmobiles. And when at the ocean, I switch to wave runners.

Biggest accomplishment: Being a finalist on Food Network’s “Chopped” in 2019 was an honor – and so much fun!

Biggest obstacle: The process of opening restaurants. Pulling everything together. Both energizing and draining. 

Advice I would give to someone who is pursuing my career path: Run the other way. As fast as you can. No seriously, I love what I do! I don’t look at it as a job. You have to love it and put everything you have into it. It’s just what I do, not who I am. 

Something someone would be shocked to learn about you: I love frozen pizza! Better than a lot of neighborhood places. Of course, I doctor it up!

Favorite quote: “It’s showtime!” I say it before every dinner service I go into.

What makes someone fabulous: In my world, anyone who can take ingredients and create layers of flavors with them. It can’t be taught. I paraphrase that statement from “Chopped” Chef Samuelson, who was nice enough to say it about me.

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