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No Second Guesses at Tara's Italian Cucina

By Jake Levin

For everything Tara Ciannella is as a chef, one thing she'll never be is satisfied.

Always reading and learning new techniques for the betterment of Tara's Italian Cucina in Nyack, NY, Ciannella believes that all chefs should be challenging themselves to trying new ideas, dishes, techniques, cuisine types and more. Ciannella challenged herself as a restaurant owner in the aftermath of an awful car accident that left her with a major brain injury, when she quickly realized that the only place she felt like herself was in the kitchen.

"I realized this love and passion I had in the kitchen was always there, from a young age of cooking with my grandma in her Italian kitchen or playing in my godmother's farm," Ciannella said. "I knew I was meant to be a chef and show others love through food."

No one knows how to conquer fears like Ciannella, who is able to face challenges head-on in the kitchen. Ciannella believes a chef should never be afraid of a particular food or a particular style of cooking.

"A chef doesn't necessarily have to agree or like what another chef does, but I believe every chef has something to teach another," she said. "You should constantly play with different foods to learn new flavor profiles. Be creative and inventive. Never second guess yourself. It is ok to make mistakes and have dishes turn out unsuccessful."

Tara's Italian Cucina offers a catering service, one which Ciannella said is different in that there is no set menu, unlike most other catering companies. Her vision and philosophy is to give each client their own personal restaurant, based around their wants and needs. There are sample menus Ciannella offers her clients, but 90 percent of them wind up personalizing the menu for their own unique event.

Through it all, Ciannella is also balancing her work life with being a mother and a wife. After being in restaurants for many years, she was inspired to work for herself rather than working 70 to 90 hours a week. This way, she's able to spend much more time with her husband and daughter and have unique experiences like appearing on the television shows Chopped and Good Day NY.

"I took a big risk in order to raise my daughter and do what I love to do," Ciannella said. "I believe this love and passion shows in the food I cook. You can taste the love in every bite."

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