TasteMakers: Dave Caldiero

Dave Caldiero portrait

Having spent the last few weeks in Hawaii, it only seemed appropriate to spotlight a Hawaii-based food person as this month’s TasteMaker. Dave Caldiero immediately came to mind not only because he’s a friend, but also because he’s at the front lines of the local, organic, sustainable food movement in Hawaii.

Dave is a native New Yorker and his cooking reflects both where he’s from and where he’s been. As the chef de cuisine at Town, a restaurant started by chef-owner Ed Kenney, Dave has embraced the flavors and ingredients of Hawaii while paying homage to his Italian-American upbringing. The crew at Town has been so successful in creating seasonal, local food that they have become synonymous (along with sister restaurant, Downtown) with Hawaii’s local food movement. As the next generation of chefs bring a new voice to food in Hawaii, Dave and Ed continue to lead with their mantra: “Local first, organic whenever possible, with Aloha always.”

Here’s a bit about Dave and what makes him tick; and be sure to check back tomorrow, when Dave shares his top ten essential kitchen tools.

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Late To {Virtual} Dinner


I hate being tardy. Ask anyone who’s been with me when there’s even a chance of me being late — I get seriously flustered. I tap my foot wildly, talk about what would happen should we arrive 1 millisecond late, and text everyone involved to let them know. So you can imagine my utter horror when I realized I was late — and to a dinner party no less!
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The Crew That Gets Me Through


foodCrafters is quickly finding a seriously following and I couldn’t be more jazzed about it. When people come up and say, “I really like your show,” it’s the greatest of compliments because I’m tirelessly criss-crossing the nation to get the best stories about stellar foods from the top artisans to you. But the truth is, it’s not my show; I do adore the show, but it takes a whole crew to make it happen.
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Paradise Found

Find of the weekend: The Budos Band

If I had a say, my version of paradise would closely resemble this past weekend. After a few days of hanging with my favorite local chefs and restaurateurs at SF Chefs, I spent the entirety of my Sunday at Outside Lands. It’s pretty obvious that I love music almost as much as I love food…
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Local Adventure: Off the Grid, On the Grill

Two of the most popular trucks side-by-side

Apparently my watch is off. Either that or people have learned that to get on line for Off the Grid you’ve got to be early; I showed up just minutes past 5 and the place was already bouncing. Off the Grid is a weekly eat-in organized by SF Cart Project and La Cocina and, though it has not even been two months, I’ve already heard about it more than the latest LiLo dramas.

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Sewing the Seeds of Hope

Chatting with Kamal at Souk El Tayeb

I heard a lot about Lebanese hospitality before I visited, yet nothing prepared me for the incessant hospitality of our family, friends, and everyone else there. But, if there’s one person who is Lebanese hospitality embodied and whom I’m ever so glad to have met, it’s Kamal Mouzawak.

The way we connected was a culinary perfect storm. After deciding to go to Lebanon with family, I read about Kamal in the New York Times, and then found myself at the IACP conference in late April where I heard a buzz about his work. Flexing my networking muscles, I reached out to Kamal and asked if he’d meet up with me to show me his baby, the Souk el Tayeb. What I was prepared for was a chance to get behind the scenes look at Beirut’s adored farmer’s market; what I wasn’t prepared for was the role Kamal would take in my trip.

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