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Her star is on the rise

Her star is on the rise | Cape Cod LIFE August 2016

Photography by Dom Casserly

Ragussis says her cooking style takes a little from her heritage—her father was Greek and her mother was Sicilian—and a little from the diversity of New England. “There’s not really a name for it,” she says of her cuisine. “It’s Greek, it’s Italian, it’s Portuguese, it’s New England—that’s how I’d put it.” One example of her eclectic approach is how she prepares Wellfleet oysters; she breads and flash fries the oysters, and tops the dish with roasted bone marrow and pickled zucchini blossoms. “Sometimes I’ll be lying in bed,” she says, “and these ideas just come to me.”

Central House is “true farm to table,” Ragussis says. “We make everything from scratch. We make all our cheeses and pastas; we don’t buy anything from big companies.”

Ragussis was born and raised in Derby, Connecticut. “Food was a huge part of my life,” she recalls. “In fact, I think the very first thing I ever smelled when I was born was a home-cooked turkey! I was born on Thanksgiving Day—and my father brought a Thanksgiving turkey to the hospital.”

While living in Ashville, North Carolina, some 10 years ago, Ragussis decided she wanted to appear on the Food Network. She packed her bags, moved to New York City, and vowed not to leave New York until she achieved her dream. “You have to be a go-getter,” she says. “You have to accept the word no, get over it, and keep going. People will tell you that you can’t do something, and you do it anyway. Especially in the world of kitchens—it’s male dominated, and you have to be a strong female.”

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