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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Hawaiian Food Tour

Opelu-Poke

The Aloha State and I are becoming good friends as I’ve spent a fair amount of time there during the last few years. Admittedly, most of that time has been on Oahu, but this latest trip included my first visit to Big Island (aka the island of Hawaii). Along the way, I uncovered a lot of food finds to share with you, and, to really do the trip justice, I’ll be making the next few posts all about Hawaii.
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Local Adventure: Finding My Sixth Taste

AidaMollenkamp_DinTaiFungDumplinhs_1

A few weeks ago, I got an email from fellow food-lover, Marian, who asked if I wanted to take part in a Six Taste food tour. The thought behind Six Taste is to encourage people to find their own taste experience to add to the five tastes — sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and umami — hence the Six. In other words, they share my goal to constantly seek out new food adventures, be they near or far. I haven’t lived in Southern California in years, and the local food climate has become much richer and more multi-faceted during that time, so I knew this tour would help me get reacquainted.

I opted for the Taiwanese food-focused Delicious Dumplings tour which takes place in the San Gabriel Valley town of Arcadia. Shadowing immigration patterns, ethnic food epicenters have evolved across Southern California and one of the best known is the corridor of Chinese and Taiwanese-dominated towns in San Gabriel Valley. Arcadia is one of the lesser-known food towns so I was curious how it would pan out. Within a few bites, it became abundantly clear how much I was about to learn. We only covered a handful of restaurants in a few blocks, but ate our way through a cyclone of Taiwanese culture, history, and food.
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