Cleveland-area native Matt Prokopchak targeted a life in starched white work clothes back in high school, when he started taking cooking classes and became a member of the Chef's Club. Matriculating into Columbus State, he began his chef's apprenticeship at the Athletic Club and finished it at Trattoria Roma.

Age: 31

Title: Chef/owner, Trattoria Roma

Hometown: Euclid

Current neighborhood: Clintonville

Cleveland-area native Matt Prokopchak targeted a life in starched white work clothes back in high school, when he started taking cooking classes and became a member of the Chef's Club. Matriculating into Columbus State, he began his chef's apprenticeship at the Athletic Club and finished it at Trattoria Roma.

The latter's two-decade penchant for producing accomplished classic Italian and classic Italian-American cuisine suited Prokopchak so well he never left, becoming head chef there about seven years ago.

What kinds of menus do you find interesting or exciting?

Any daily or special menu. It gives the chef an opportunity to present their true taste and vision. At Trattoria Roma, we feature several specials daily and offer wine-paired dinners every other month.

Is there anything on your menu you never tire of eating?

Puttanesca

What's your favorite food and drink pairing?

Lamb and Amarone

What ingredient could you not live without?

Garlic

Describe a great summer meal you'd make for friends.

A full grill and a full cooler

Do you have a "hangover cure" meal?

A saffron, spicy herbed seafood broth with citrus, garlic and farro

If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and what might you eat?

[I'd be] at a Roman banquet prepared by Marcus Gavius Apicius [author of one of the first recognized cookbooks] in the first century A.D. He was known to prepare very extravagant and eccentric meals from the most exotic creatures.

What's your favorite food-related movie?

"Woman on Top"