Cafe Society

Smashburger, Live Basil and Tom's Urban chef Andrew Selvaggio : "You don't learn a trade; you steal it"

Andrew Selvaggio Live Basil Pizza, Tom's Urban and Smashburger,,

This is part one of my interview with Andrew Selvaggio, chef of Smashburger, Live Basil and Tom's Urban; part two of my chat with Selvaggio will run tomorrow.

"Food was a huge part of my life, of my family culture, of ritual and reward," remembers Andrew Selvaggio, the 55-year-old corporate executive chef of the sprawling Smashburger chain, Live Basil Pizza and Tom's Urban. Raised in Chicago, Selvaggio was born and bred into a family of restaurateurs: His dad owned a bakery and his grandfather ran a pastry shop. They, along with Julia Child and Graham Kerr (Selvaggio admits he couldn't tear himself away from old-fashioned food TV), paved the way for his future in cooking -- a successful future that started in the tiny kitchen of La Petite Cuisine, a long-gone French restaurant in Illinois.

See also: Live Basil Pizza opens today in Glendale with a new look -- and new things to come