Steve Gonzalez + Scott Ketchum
Marrying their backgrounds of design and culinary, Scott Ketchum + Steve Gonzalez have teamed up to bring superior pastas to the restaurants of New York City. With a focus on using only the finest flours produced in America + extruded through bronze dies, Sfoglini produces a staple batch of pastas, intermixed with seasonal offerings - according to what is currently in season.
What Inspired You To Start Your Company?
Sfoglini Pasta Shop was born from the vision of Chef Steve Gonzalez who has been a part of some of the most formidable pasta programs in New York City: Insieme, Hearth, Roberta’s, and Frankies Sputino, and former creative director Scott Ketchum who both talked for years about bringing a superior, locally produced pasta to NYC.
The original concept for Sfoglini was to open a pasta focused restaurant with a wholesale pasta business on the side, but when the funding for a restaurant became too difficult to raise we decided to flip our plan and funded the wholesale business on our own.
Tell us about your products.
Sfoglini specializes in making freshly extruded pastas using traditional bronze dies that create a textured, porous surface that makes it easier for sauce to cling to rather than slip to the bottom of the bowl. The pasta is then air dried at low temperatures to preserve nutrition and lock in more flavor.
Sfoglini’s traditional offerings include sixteen organic durum semolina, whole-grain, rye, emmer and einkorn pastas. In addition to their signature pastas, Sfoglini also produces a line of seasonal pastas made with fresh, local ingredients from NYC green markets and urban farms. Sfoglini also experiments with other unique ingredients and partners to make innovative, original pastas including a tomato leaf pasta collaboration with Riverpark and a beer pasta using milled grain from the Bronx Brewery.
What Does Being A Small-Batch “Artisan” Mean To You?
Someone who is bringing the craft back to their business. It’s easy to turn your back on the way things were done in the past and move forward with cheaper, faster methods of producing your product, but that doesn’t always produce the best food in the end. Let’s enjoy fresh, organic and locally sourced foods while we can. Changing weather and our ever growing population are making harder to produce a quality product at an affordable price.
What Drew You To Food?
Scott - I needed a change from my career in design, but I didn’t want to give up design completely. Since living in NYC I’ve been fascinated by the artisanal food movement and the craft beer scene, so I made the decision a few years ago to match my design and management skills with someone looking to do something new in the culinary scene.
Steve - I originally went to culinary school because I had been working part-time jobs at restaurants in high-school and I thought a culinary career would provide a way to use my cooking skills as a way travel and see the world. After culinary school in Colorado, I traveled and worked in Pennsylvania, New York, San Francisco, Spain and Italy.
Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?
Fresh, locally produced goods. We should be eating things that are fresh and in season. When they’re done for the year you move on to the next fresh ingredient.
What Products Are You Working On Now?
We have seasonal pastas coming up for the holidays – Chestnut Fusilli, Porcini Trumpets and Cocoa Spaccatelli. Once we start 2016 we will begin making our popular Beet Fusilli through Februrary, and we continue to experiment with new grains from around the country in our pastas.
Do You Have a Favorite Product?
Of our pastas - Reginetti and Trumpet pastas are quite popular. Our favorite pastas changes all the time.
Latest Ingredient Obsession?
Love working with chili peppers in the fall.
What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?
Scott – Heirloom Tomato Soup
Steve – Pasta with Tomato, Pork and Broccoli Rabe
What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?
Thomas Jefferson - Monticello featured grains, vegetables, fruits and a vineyard.
What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other artisans?
Don’t try to grow too fast. Find your audience and get a stable business and then you can grow it from there. We see other businesses start up all the time with funding from here and there, but they haven’t established their product yet and they end up burning through the money too quickly and closing.
What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?
Steve - Michael Tusk and American Cheese Makers.
Scott - I really enjoy working with, and eating at, Tom Colicchio’s Riverpark Restaurant. Chefs Bryan Hunt & Andrew Smith create some of the best dinning in NYC.
If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?
Scott - Pizza.
Steve - Steak.
Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?
Scott – Biking, hiking and eating through the Italian countryside in Umbria and Tuscany.
Steve - Bunker and eating at dinner parties
What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?
Scott - tasting other great food and craft beer. Visiting galleries and museums.
Steve - Reading and relaxing
What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?
Neil Young, Pavement, Steely Dan and Howard Stern.
What other product in our October basket would you most want to try?
Bourbon Barrel Foods | Bluegrass Soy Sauce