There are few things we love more than some authentic Italian cooking. And today we are giving you some behind-the-dining-room access to one of the best Italian chefs we know, Steve Samson. Having grown up spending his summers in his mother’s native Bologna, he has parlayed his knowledge of authentic regional cuisine (and love of local Californian ingredients) into a career leading some of the best kitchens in Los Angeles, including that of one of our favorites, Sotto. (He also has another restaurant on deck, Rossoblu, set to open early next year). Be sure to save us a seat, please!

What's the staff meal your kitchen gets most excited about?

Tacos! Of course.

What is the one knife you can't live without?

Probably my 8 inch chef’s knife. I got it as part of a swag bag, which is good because I can’t really afford new knives. I have kids.

What's your naughty food indulgence?

Pretzels and hummus: My take on fusion cuisine.

What's your mini bar go to?

Ice cold beer, but it seems hotel minibars are going the way of the pay phone.

If you could stage at any restaurant in your city, where would it be and why?

Urasawa. I love Japanese food!

After a long day at work you go home and…?

Snuggle with my 4 year old twins, Gaia and Luca.

If you weren't working in a kitchen, what would you be doing?

Wanting to work in a kitchen.

Drink of choice?

Aperol spritz.

One cookbook you can't live without/most referenced?

La Cucina Bolognese by Accademia Italiana di Cucina.

What's the most overrated ingredient?

Anything truffle flavored, except actual truffles.

Describe your cooking in one word: