Big Head Todd

The Times on Todd English: Childhood Possibly to Blame for ‘Whatever It Is That Needs to Be Fixed’

Photo: Regan

Boston broke up with him. “Page Six” mocked him. But so far, only the New York Times has attempted to psychoanalyze Todd English at the gym. This is probably going to be easiest if we break it all down into some easily digestible snippets.

The Scene: a swank gym, where English “seemed to be pouring a surprising level of ferocity into his squats.”

Painful Childhood: “You might say that the manic drive and the sporadic disarray of Mr. English’s career could be traced to his childhood,” the Times notes with a hint of sympathy. Cue ominous music.

Identity Confusion: “He has a surname that suggests bangers and mash, but the main influence on his upbringing was his mother, Patrizia Arcuni-English, whose family came to the United States from Sicily and Calabria.” Bangers! Mash! Pasta! It’s distressing.

Broken Home: “Today, Mr. English is disinclined to talk about his father, although he does not deny that growing up without that paternal presence might have given him a propulsive, Bill Clintonesque surplus of ambition,” the Times posits.

Hints of Precociousness As Recalled by Wistful Relatives: Reporters track down English’s mom, who recalls that her ambitious son not only whipped up bowls of homemade vanilla ice cream as a teen, but also enjoyed guitar lessons, baseball, and gardening.

Latency Period: We learn that English underwent a spell of “marination” in Italy after baseball injuries sidelined him. There, he decided to cook.

Recollection of Bygone Glory: At Boston’s Olives, says English, “I was cooking octopus in 1990 … Nobody was. It was that little joint you couldn’t get into.”

Too Much, Too Soon!: “There were James Beard awards and a spot on People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People list,” plus “franchise fever” in Sin City.

Requisite Pause for Armchair Psychoanalysis: “His career has been so radiantly scattershot that we might need an astrophysicist to track down all the supernovas and black holes.”

Heartfelt Plea From Concerned Confidante: “He’s a good friend, and I love the guy dearly. I would love for him to fix whatever it is that needs to be fixed,” laments Hudson Valley Foie Gras founder, and pal, Michael Ginor.

Closing Quote Indicating That Todd Maybe Isn’t Quite Yet on the Path to Redemption: ““I take the bullets. And I’m a big, tough guy. But you know, I get tired of taking those bullets … If I were molesting babies, I get it. But I’m not. I’m a guy with a dream trying to make it all happen,” English says.

Todd English, the Chef in Motion [NYT]

Related: Okay, America, Who’s Going to Take Todd English Off of Boston’s Hands?

The Times on Todd English: Childhood Possibly to Blame for