Interview with Dale Talde

by korin on July 18, 2012

“Dale Talde is currently a Creative Director at Buddakan in New York City. His passion for food started at the youngest of ages as he watched his mother cook. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, he went back to Chicago where he helped open Jean George Vongerichten’s Vong. He has also worked with James Beard award winning chefs Carrie Nahabedian and Shawn McClain.

In 2005, he moved to New York City to open Morimoto with the Iron Chef, Masaharu Morimoto. Since his last appearance on Top Chef, his travels have taken him to the Philippines, Spain, the Caribbean, and throughout the US.” – Taken from Dale Talde’s Website

How did you become this great chef that you are today?
I don’t at all consider myself as a great chef right now. I am still trying to get better as a chef everyday, learn everyday, run a business well and be a good leader. I wouldn’t say I am at a great chef level because I am always trying to striving to be better, better than the day before.

Where did you start?
I started at the CIA in 1997 and graduated in 1999, I started cooking right after that. From there on, I been cooking ever since, so about 13 years.

How did you know you wanted to become a chef?
I didn’t cook before 1997 but it has always been something that I loved to do. I never worked in a restaurant before, but when I was 18 years old, I didn’t think college would suit me. I didn’t know much about chefs at that time, but I loved to watch old cooking shows. Also, I loved to watch my mother cook, who influenced me to make my decision on becoming a chef. My mother was one of the eleven children, 8 sisters and they all have to help out. I learned from all of my aunts.

What is your favorite knife and why?
My favorite knife is the Nenox Mammoth-Tusk Handle Yo-Deba 270. It has a heavy weight to it, it is versatile. Nenox is my absolute favorite brand. When I first came to New York, I saw all the sushi guys had Nenox, so as I started working I saved up money and bought my first Nenox, Quince-Wood slicer.

What was your first knife? What knives have you used in the past?
My first knife was a set of culinary school knives, Friedr Dick. They were terrible, but they were actually yours, and you took care of them and took pride in keeping them sharp. As any cook has gone through with 10 years experience you just go through knives. I really started to pay attention to my knives as a chef and collector, when I worked at Morimoto. Now I am always asking about the newest Nenox, any red bone? I am always on a hunt for Nenox. I will never go back, it is like comparing to someone driving a Mercedes Benz, once they drive it and fall in love they will not drive anything else. I feel the same way with my knives. I love Nenox and I can never use another knife. I work 14 hours a day, and it is a tool that I am using, it is imperative that whatever tool you are using it has to be comfortable. I am use to the handle, to the weight.

What’s your favorite restaurant (not the one you work at) what is your favorite dish?
When I really want to relax I go to Chuko ramen place. Two of my friends own the restaurant, it is exactly what I want, a beer and great ramen. Ramen is one of those things that I can eat everyday. The pork ramen is awesome.

What’s your favorite dish to prepare for yourself?
Very simple Italian pasta is my favorite. Simple tomato sauce, well-cooked noodles with olive oil and some grated parmesan. There is something very satisfying about a bowl of pasta, as long as there is good sauce and good olive oil.

What’s next?
We are opening a new place on 5th Avenue, Pork Slope. It is a big bar that serves American food. A little down and dirty, price point definitely low, late night place. Perfect for after work to hangout.

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