DelSolia, who now has more than 20 years of experience as a professional cook, began cooking when he was young but says he only knew the basics — “survival stuff,” as he calls it. At 19 years old, he went into a culinary program at Newbury College, where he honed his skills. After completing school, he worked as a banquet chef and eventually made his way to managing the food operations at Tidelands Waccamaw.
In 2016, DelSolia and a team from Tidelands Health took first place at the South Carolina Hospital Association’s Cooking Well Invitational. They competed against counterparts from other South Carolina health systems to see who could cook the most delicious meal while also meeting certain nutritional standards and keeping the cost of the meal below $5. DelSolia and his team’s winning meal was goat cheese and herb pancake with roasted beet salad, squid ink pasta with roasted butternut squash and kale, and kefir panna cotta with balsamic fennel.
In all of his cooking, but especially at home, DelSolia says he tries to keep things simple and focus on the freshness of his ingredients.
“As I get older, I’m looking just for the freshest things I can get, then I prepare them simply,” he says.