Professional Chef

Drummer for the band Little Hurricane

Destroy A Drum: How did you start playing drums and what influenced you to pick up the sticks?

C.S: I was lucky enough to attend a school that offered music classes starting in the fifth grade. I got to chose the instrument I wanted and something called me to the drums. Looking back when I was even younger (maybe 7 or 8) my friend had a toy snare drum that I used to play on - the kind with the cheap yellow sticks - and we'd go door to door with our "marching band," trying to get people to pay us for our music! I was lucky enough to have an amazing band teacher from 5th - 8th grade who really inspired me, was never easy on me and had a passion for teaching. I'd be somewhere completely different in my life today if it wasn't for him.

Destroy A Drum: Did you cook/have an interest in culinary art or started playing drums first?

C.S: I guess both. I just always wanted to be a performer. I loved Julia Child, and started cooking when I was really young. I would make scrambled eggs and pretend I was hosting a cooking show, trying to mimic her voice.

Destroy A Drum: How long have you played drums? How long have you cooked?

C.S: I officially started the drums when I was 10 and started cooking basic things when I was maybe around 8. I quit the drums at 15 and that's when I started considering cooking as a career and attended a culinary camp at the college I later attended to get my culinary degree. I switched cooking for drums again in my mid-20's.

Destroy A Drum: Out of the two which one came easier to grasp?

C.S: Probably drums. Cooking is such a subjective art, but I spent a lot of time in middle school competing in drum competitions. It's a lot easier to judge drums (at least when you are playing a written piece) than it is to judge if someone executed the perfect dish. Both stay with you forever though, like riding a bike.

Destroy A Drum: What made you pursue cooking and what exactly was your experience like in the culinary world?

C.S: I just love to create things with my hands. Both my great grandmother and grandmother were from Italy and were excellent cooks. In high school I dated a guy who's family loved to dine out at fancy restaurants and I loved seeing new dishes that I had never heard of. My experience was tough, but it also lasted through my late teens and early 20's, and I have a feeling anything I did during that time would have been difficult since I was more interested in partying than I was in working hard. It took me a while to grow up.

Destroy A Drum: As a woman, was playing drums and cooking more of challenge in either setting? How did you overcome those challenges and barriers?

C.S: By far, without a doubt, cooking was a bigger challenge as a woman. Nearly every job I had I was the only woman in the kitchen, and nearly every job I was sexually harassed. I would compare a kitchen environment to a locker room - dirty jokes and talking about women. I will say times have really changed for women in the kitchen in the past 10/15 years. When I started, the Food Network was unknown, and being a "celebrity chef" was unheard of. I think the industry has become much more mainstream, and now women seem to be more accepted and appreciated in the industry. I'm sure it's still a challenge, but it seems like there is more diversity now.

Destroy A Drum: Was there ever a time that you endured a challenged in either drums or cooking and wanted to quit?

C.S: Never have I ever wanted to quit playing the drums, but this occurred plenty of times in the kitchen. So, I did quit. Dozens of jobs. I knew there was high turnover in the industry, so if I saw a job as being the wrong fit, I had no problem walking away from a $9/ an hour paycheck. I think the most I ever had was something like 6 cooking jobs in one year.

Destroy A Drum: By choosing to pursue drums full time do you still try cooking as a hobby and if so would you say it has influenced you to play drums differently?

C.S: Yes - I still cook when I can! I like more to bake in my free time over cooking because it is just so much harder to cook at home versus a restaurant where every ingredient is at your disposal. I don't know if it has influenced the way I play the drums, but it has influenced my gratitude level for being able to play. Something I never forget is how challenging it was to cook professionally and you receive very little feedback as a line cook. You only hear feedback if you make a mistake. If you cook perfectly all night, you are just doing your job. As a drummer, I am no where near perfect. But people still applaud and tell me great job after every show. That will never be lost on my how lucky I am.

Destroy A Drum: Like in the style of how you would prepare a dish by adding different flavors and spices in order to create the perfect dish; would you say you hold back on some parts more for the beauty of “less is more” or more in the style of going full throttle and having an explosion of a performance?

C.S: Yes! Knowing exactly how much to add or not add is key. In cooking, a lot comes down to simple seasoning. Salt and Pepper. Like beats and fills!

Destroy A Drum: Whats your favorite dish to cook?

C.S: I love making homemade pasta. It's great to start with simple, affordable, raw ingredients and end up with something that can be so filling and can last a really long time if you dry it.

Destroy A Drum: What advice can you give out there to all the female drummers

C.S: Play how you want. Don't worry about what anyone else thinks, just be yourself and you'll be unique.

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