Steve grew up spending summers in Italy with his mother's Bolognese family, cooking alongside his grandmother and mother, and credits his time in Italy for ingraining a passion for the craft, especially as an expressive outlet. Samson earned his B.A. in History from the University of California, San Diego and began Columbia University's pre-med program but would eventually leave to enroll in New York's Institute of Culinary Education and was a Blue Ribbon Graduate.  He started his professional cooking career in New York and Maine.  He worked his way through Italy with a series of stages at many Michelin-starred restaurants, including Dal Pescatore, Il Duomo, and Il Cascinale Nuovo.  Upon returning to the States, he worked with Chef Piero Selvaggio, helping him to open the Las Vegas outpost of Valentino, and then as Executive Chef at the original in Santa Monica. He joined David Myers at his Michelin-starred Sona, where the two developed an Italian concept. Steve and Zach Pollack opened Pizzeria Ortica that year, a local award-winning restaurant in Orange County, with accolades including OC Weekly's Best Pizza and Best Italian Restaurant. After departing Pizzeria Ortica, the duo opened Sotto, where the focus is on Southern Italy and the simplicity of traditional Italian cooking. Steve's passion for Italian food is evident through the house-made pastas, seasonal dishes and Italian specialties.



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