Chef Daniel Sharp: Executive Chef, The Meatball Shop Group

A Californian native,  Chef Daniel Sharp grew up in the central valley, the produce basket of the nation. Although cooking was ever present in his life, Sharp always viewed cooking as more of a hobby over a potential career. While working as a waiter, he was offered a part-time job in the pantry at the landmark Inn of the Seventh Ray in Southern California, and his “two days a week” schedule very quickly became a full time position. In that kitchen, he decided to take cooking from an interest to a profession. For his next step, Sharp apprenticed in Umbria, Italy, where he developed a love of the bold rustic flavors and simple but thoughtful preparations. Upon returning to the US, Sharp worked at a Japanese restaurant under Chef Sho Kameo, which instilled a deep admiration and respect for the techniques and ingredients of Japan, which he still draws from in his cuisine today. Sharp then returned to the Inn of the Seventh Ray to be the sous chef for Chef Daniel Holzman, before leaving L.A. for San Francisco. There, he held positions at the pizzeria A16, and the newly opened SPQR with Nate Appleman, before heading to Chez Panisse, where he immersed himself in seasonal and local cuisine, rounding out his Bay Area experience.

In 2011, Sharp received a call from his former colleague, Chef Holzman, to head East in order to assist him with the smash hit The Meatball Shop. Since then, Sharp has helped develop the business and has opened six locations – with a seventh opening in D.C. in July of 2018 – each dedicated to providing wholesome dishes to their beloved guests. Today, Sharp is the Executive Chef of The Meatball Shop Group, bringing his creativity, love of fresh produce, and drive to the kitchen every day. When he’s not slinging balls, Sharp can be found taking incredible photographs, eating Japanese food or traveling the world.

What do you love most about Your City?

I love being able to get everywhere, quickly and easily with no car to worry about. If you’re driving and you pass a friend going the other way, you’d never know, but in New York I’m constantly running into people on the street, on the subway, at restaurants and it gives the city a magically serendipitous feeling.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

I like a good cup of tea in the morning. I’ve gotten into some fancy ass teas lately. Otherwise I don’t often have breakfast, I just wait until lunch to eat. But my favorite morning meal of all time is last night’s cold pizza.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – Hitting the snooze button

10:00 AM – I’m getting to the restaurants, checking to see how the morning prep is shaping up.

12:00 PM - Favorite Power Lunch spot/meal?

Most days my lunch is tasting all the food on line at a couple shops so that doesn’t leave much room for anything else. On days I’m not in the restaurants, I usually grab something quick and eat at my desk.  I do however dream of sit down lunches,  like meeting a friend for a quick catch up at a cute outdoor café or having a “working lunch” at a steak house. But in reality, I’ve probably had a full service lunch during a work day twice in the last 4 years.

7:00 PM - Checking on the start of dinner service and then getting out of the way. Dinner is the one meal I still get to regularly enjoy so I’m figuring out if I’ll cook at home with my girlfriend, go out to dinner or just grab some takeout.

11:00 PM – I eat late so I’m usually wrapping up dinner and either heading to a bar with friends and debating what to watch on Netflix (which will take most of the rest of the evening and will be followed by passing out on the couch during the first 15 minutes of the movie it took us an hour to decide on)

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

I think classic yellow Gatorade is the most deliciously refreshing beverage when you’re sweating it out in the kitchen. I got me though soccer as a kid and it gets my though hot days (and hangovers) now.

At the end of the day I wind down with bourbon or red wine or an herbal tea. Which one and how many is all depending on the day.  But sometimes (especially if I’m not feeling well) I’ll combine the bourbon and the tea.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

Instagram @chefsharp

What should everyone try at least once?

Traveling alone. The world opens but to you in a ways that you’d never know otherwise. All your decisions about where to go and what to eat are your own and you can change them as quickly as you make them.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

Foreign counties. Japan is the best because their address system is wildly complex and completely different than ours. Combine that with trying to identity Japanese characters and you can get really, really lost.