Steven Paul Geller

Steven Paul Geller
World Trade Center

Kitchen Improvisations

How to describe Steven P. Geller's love of cooking? Envision a man prowling the touchstones of Upper West Side cuisine ‹ Zabar's, Citarella and the like ‹ looking, say, for the perfect green pepper. Imagine a Food Network enthusiast for whom an episode of "Iron Chef" was reason to drop everything.

"I have pots and pans here that are worth more than my jewelry," said his wife, Debra Geller, with complete seriousness and not a trace of resentment. Mrs. Geller suspects that she may have been the catalyst for Mr. Geller's quest for great food. "I come from a long line of non-cooking women," she confessed. Her husband, she suggested, most likely gravitated toward the kitchen as "a sort of survival technique."

Mr. Geller, a 52-year-old institutional trader at Cantor Fitzgerald, embraced the role. Presentation ‹ the more ostentatious the better ‹ became a pet cause. He wore chef shirts and he cooked not by the book ‹ heavens, no ‹ but like a jazz artist. He made their daughter, Hali, 12, his chief assistant and partner in cuisine. "He was sort of cloning himself," Mrs. Geller said.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 21, 2001.

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