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Reinventing an Icon

By Troy Gagliardo | Photography by Richard Rudisill

Posted: Friday, Aug. 08, 2014

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

CChef Troy Gagliardo is a self-taught chef that has parlayed his years of kitchen experience into many other culinary ventures. Including a proprietary spice line, cook books, commercials, food styling, cooking/restaurant columns, endorsements, cooking classes, and live appearances. Troy has been voted as one of the Charlotte’s Top Five Chefs two years in a row by Creative Loafing readers. Chef Troy has appeared in two national commercials with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and joined him for a media tour day just days before Dale Jr. won his second Daytona 500 to start the 2014 NASCAR season. For the past seven years, Chef Troy has appeared each week on Charlotte's morning show WCCB News Rising, cooking his way through "Troy’s Everyday Eats". Filmed live each week at the WCCB Charlotte studios, Chef Troy teaches his unique style of food with a simple Warren publishing recently signed Chef Troy to publish his new cookbook entitled Pseudo Southern-a playful twist on the art of southern cooking, which has been endorsed by Top Chef Alum and best-selling author Fabio Viviani and also star of “A Chef’s Life” Vivian Howard. Fabio said of Pseudo Southern, "Southern food is my second home. It's as close to my heart like Italy is, and that is why I love Troy's recipes so much. They remind me of the childhood I would have had if I was born in the south”. Vivian had this to say, “Troy’s take on southern food is just left of center, fun, and refreshing. His recipes are approachable that even the most jaded cook will be intrigued to try.” Chef Troy is also a free-lance food writer for the Charlotte Observer and Examiner.com and lives in Mooresville, NC with his wife Tracy, of twenty-three years, and their two daughters, Ally and Isabella. He can be seen every Tuesday morning from 7-9 am on WCCB News Rising.

Reinventing a classic dish is something most chefs revel, thrive on and downright challenge ourselves to make better than the original. More times than not, it is a dish that is famous for its simplicity, its flavor and probably created by accident.

Twisting a classic is just a fun as reinventing one, like this version of a Caprese Salad. The twist is to replace the sliced tomato with zucchini and yellow squash; elevating it by lightly oiling, seasoning and charring them on the grill. The addition of a grill roasted red bell pepper, the traditional fresh milk mozzarella and basil pesto makes this the perfect rip off of the true Italian classic that has been copied note for note many times over.

Put this one in your summer rotation and throughout the rest of the year by using what is fresh and available; who knows maybe you will create the next “classic” recipe.

For more great recipes from Chef Troy visit www.cheftroy.net and be sure to catch Troy on WCCB Charlotte’s Rising morning show every week 7-9 am for “Troy’s Everyday Eats” cooking show.

Grilled Squash & Zucchini Caprese Salad w/ Pesto

• 1 Each-Yellow Squash-ends removed, cut into rounds, 1/2” thick

• 1 Each-Zucchini-ends removed, cut into rounds

• 1 Each-Red Bell Pepper-roasted, skin, stem and seeds removed, cut into

• 1 Ball-Fresh Mozzarella Cheese-cut into thin 1/2 rounds

• To Drizzle-Olive Oil

• To Taste-Chef Troy’s Spice Mix-or kosher salt and black pepper

• To Drizzle-Balsamic Vinegar (glaze)


• 4 Ounces-Fresh Basil-about 2 cups

• 2 Cloves-Fresh Garlic-peeld

• 2 Tablespoons-Unsalted Butter

• 2 Ounces-Pinenuts-or walnuts, almonds, cashews

• To Taste-Kosher Salt/Black Pepper

• 1 1/2 Cups-Extra Virgin Olive Oil

• 4 Ounces-Parmesan Cheese-grated, about 1 cup


1. Place all ingredients except oil/cheese in a food processor (blender) and process until smooth.

2. With food processor still running slowly add oil until all has been incorporated.

3. Empty puree into a large mixing bowl, add cheese, mix to combine and set aside while preparing the vegetables.

4. Preheat grill for direct heat grilling to medium high heat.

5. Drizzle squash/zucchini with olive oil and season with spice mix.

6. Grill squash/zucchini on both sides, just until slightly charred, place on a plate and let cool to room temperature.

7. On individual plates (or a serving platter) alternate vegetables with a slice of fresh mozzarella around plate/platter.

8. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil on vegetables. Place a scoop of the pesto in middle of the plate/platter and serve.

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