Richard McGunigale
Oyindamola Johnson, 2017 Student Chef Recipe Contest WinnerSome of Richard McGunigale’s earliest food memories involve spending time with his mom helping make dinner for the family.

His family has played an important role in his cooking career, not only by encouraging him, but also by acting as “guinea pigs” when trying his latest creations.

While McGunigale’s finalist recipe, Buttermilk Biscuits with Duck Gravy, impressed judges with its comfort food approachability, his first experience eating duck was not a good one.

“It was just the way it was prepared,” McGunigale says. “Don’t let one bad experience turn you away from trying duck,” he advises.

While at culinary school, McGunigale has been encouraged by several of his instructors: Chef MaryLou Tate (a chef finalist in the 2016 Recipe Contest), Chef Robert Siegel and Dr. Paul Brennan. “They constantly push me and help me with ideas,” McGunigale says. “They are available to talk about flavors and different dish ideas.”

Although unsure of where his career path will lead him, McGunigale is excited to work in Nashville on the edge of a prospering culinary scene and to continue developing his talents.

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