The 29-year-old New Yorker got his start in a professional kitchen at age 15. Now, he's at the top, running his own catering business called Chef Roblé & Co., and cooking for President Obama, Vanessa Williams and Michael Jackson, just to name a few.
Ali'sshow, also named Chef Roblé & Co., focuses on his catering adventures and begins its the second season started this week. Ali prides himself on being a caterer who can think outside the box and work with his clients eccentricities. He's received a variety of requests from clients, including a live monkey at dinner, a medieval feast with trolls running around and a wedding for Chihuahuas.
In the interview, he described taking on the challenge of preparing kosher Thai vegan food for Jewish musician Matisyahu, saying:
"I've worked with kosher caterers before, and I know that there are a lot of rules. And when I'm doing my own thing, I don't like to have those kinds of rules. I was very much trepidatious about doing it, but I was like, 'You know what? At the same time, let me see what I could do here.' You know, not many non-kosher caterers get a chance to do a kosher, catered event."
On his way out, Ali couldn't resist serving us something simple - his NPR love.