Adventures in Food
Joseph Lostrangio had few peers when it came to caring for saltwater fish — he kept four tanks at home, one a 90-gallon monster. And not many people could match the zeal with which Mr. Lostrangio played Billy Joel songs on his six-string guitar.
But nobody in the suburbs, absolutely nobody, his friends say, could touch Mr. Lostrangio when he got into his kitchen.
To call Mr. Lostrangio, 48, a gourmet chef was an understatement. For him, cooking was more than an adventure, it was a crusade. And his holy grail was preparing the weirdest, most exotic meals that his family and friends ever tasted. "Joe was a life explorer," said his wife, Theresann. "I don't know where he would get these things."
Once he came home with a package of rattlesnake meat. Another time it was buffalo steaks. To find such ingredients, Mr. Lostrangio often asked the staff in New York restaurants.
Mr. Lostrangio lived in Langhorne, Pa., but he felt at home in New York. He was born and raised on Long Island and got his law degree from the New York Law School in Chinatown. For years his reinsurance consulting business took him to the city.
In early September of last year, Mr. Lostrangio accepted an offer to work for Devonshire Group. That put him in the World Trade Center, in the middle of all the major insurance companies he worked with. And only a few blocks from so many Chinatown restaurants just waiting to be explored.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on March 17, 2002.