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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Community Gathering

Talking up the night's menu

Homeward Bound of Marin is a special place; the kind of place that feels familiar even if you’ve never been there before. I was invited to visit, demo, and cook as a means to help the organization gain awareness and to, in their words, fun-raise. The event took place in their state-of-the-art cooking school that,…
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A Day in the Life of a Lebanese Kitchen

Pastirma with Lebanese pesto

Food really is the universal language, so, seeing as I don’t speak Arabic, I figured the best way to communicate was to cook. My Lebanese food host and cooking genie of sorts, Kamal Mouzawak, told me the talented Chef Joe Barza was doing a guest appearance at Beirut’s progressive Tawlet restaurant, so I got in on the action. I knew Chef Barza, though we had never met, because he cooked for the CIA’s Worlds of Flavor conference a few years ago.

Barza’s food is rooted in traditional Lebanese cuisine but has a modern Mediterranean touch. A testament to that is this first dish I helped with, a pesto sauce made with herbs common in Lebanese cuisine wrapped with Armenian cured meat, pastirma. Here are few of the other goodies we cooked together:

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