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Issue Date: May 2008 Issue

Dante Boccuzzi

Parma-born, world-traveled chef Dante Boccuzzi wants to start a band. Of chefs. Like the one he jammed with in San Fran (he’s already put out two CDs). He compares his newest venture, Dante the restaurant, to Led Zeppelin: Both are rooted in the founding fathers of their genre, both brought a new sound to town and both pack a “whole lotta love.” Music and food, it seems, will always vie for his attention.

“With music, all the notes come together to make a melody,” he says. “Same idea with cooking: All the ingredients come together to make the dish.”

He cites his time in Washington, D.C.’s Lespinasse kitchen, working with Gray Kunz at the age of 26, as the period when he learned about the importance of building flavors and introducing texture.

“So rather than a flat dish, or a one-sided dish that’s not interesting, you have something that’s different,” he says. “This has carried through in how I cook and approach every dish.” Like his foie gras.

“You need to introduce acidity and spice, because foie gras can be a meaty and fatty piece of liver,” he notes. “You need to build upon the richness and enhance it. I always try to introduce some kind of fruit; this will give it texture, sweetness and acidity. Now, it has pears, pear purée and a little pomegranate syrup in it to wake it up. You also need to serve some kind of bread to absorb the flavor from the sauce and fattiness. Certain things are born to go together, and this is a good example of that.”

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