Meet Chef Andrew Seccareccio
The Willows Event Center Team is pleased to welcome Chef Andrew Seccareccio to the staff!
Andrew and his family recently moved to Lubbock from Alaska (you can read more about his adventures below!), and he brings amazing talent and creativity to the The Willows Event Center catering team.
With Thanksgiving upon us, Andrew has a yummy fall recipe to share. This Butternut Squash Gnocchi recipe is something you can make at home when you are looking for a warm, hearty comforting meal for you and your family and friends. You can find the recipe here.
Getting to Know Andrew:
Hometown – Weare, New Hampshire
Hobbies – Cooking (I know, right?), hosting dinner parties, painting and being artistic in any avenue. I love fishing and camping, love disc golf and frisbee (although my knees don’t!), and, most of all, spending time with my family. Watching my two girls learn and grow is my number one favorite thing to do.
Favorite series to binge watch – I love the show “30 Rock,” but I also really enjoy documentaries and shows like “Planet Earth.” Also, “Chef’s Table” is one of my all-time favorites.
Tell us about your family – My partner is the love of my life. Her name is Megan Cannon, and we met while I was working up in Alaska. She and I became friends after we both went through some pretty tough times personally. After we had been dating for a while, she introduced me to her two daughters, Lily, 4, and Shyann, 10. I asked Megan to marry me in 2018, and we tied the knot on October 12, 2019. The three of them are my reason for getting up early and working hard every day. We lived in Alaska together until we decided to move down here to Lubbock to be closer to family (Megan’s mother moved here about two years ago and built a home with Betenbough Homes!). My family still lives in New Hampshire, but we decided to move to Texas because we wanted to build a home for our kids to grow up in.
How did you fall into this line of work? – This is a funny story. I grew up in a large Italian family where food was the center of the home. My family and extended family was derived from large family meals. Later in life, I went to college for mechanical engineering up at the University of Maine, Orono campus. When I finished, I came home and stayed with my mom to help her out financially, working odd jobs here and there until I found decent work. Later, I needed some adventure in my life, so I moved across the country to Los Angeles with one of my friends. There I found work doing what I knew growing up, cooking. I worked in several different restaurants, but never found the right one that exemplified a quality of life. While I was job searching, I got a call from a job I had applied to. What I wasn’t aware of was that job was in Alaska. After a three-hour conversation with the chef, I made my decision and bought a plane ticket for a seasonal job working in Fairbanks, Alaska. That was in 2014, and we stayed in Alaska until we recently moved to Lubbock.
Kitchen Positions in Alaska: prep cook, line cook, banquet chef, executive sous chef, and executive chef
Companies Worked for in Alaska: Princess Cruises, Westmark Hotel and Conference Center
Favorite place in the world you have traveled to and why? – I went on a two-week cruise to New Zealand. This was such a great trip to explore the Fjord and the wilderness associated with such a beautiful landscape. Volcanoes, penguins, dolphins, cocoa… I would love to go back. I also was able to go over to Australia and view a play in the Sydney Opera House!
Dream place you would like to travel to and why? – My dream would be to travel to the Chianti Region of northern Italy, around Tuscany, and live and work alongside a butcher for a month to envelope myself in the culture and appreciation of quality meat. To gain the appreciation and understanding of butchery for meats and the pride that goes into raising and butchering animals is a dream of mine. I also would love to just travel to Europe and visit the historical buildings and cultures.
What are you most looking forward to in this position? – I am most looking forward to the growth of the The Willows team. I can and have made beautiful foods for a variety of people, but what really gets me grooving is watching someone who didn’t think they could do something succeed in their position. Watching someone grow and take on more responsibility is my favorite task, and I wake up every day with an attitude that I want to not only help other grow, but want to grow myself.
Anything else you would like to share? – I am grateful for the opportunity to showcase my skills, as well as to have the ability to care about people and the community we have here at The Willows Event Center.