This week’s !Chef is Enzo Fargione of Elisir!
! Chef Enzo Fargione
Growing up in Torino, Italy, Chef Enzo learned to love cooking via his mother’s example at a very early age and has never stopped. At fourteen, he enrolled in The Professional Culinary Institute in Turin, Italy and finished at the top of his class. In 1986, after having worked in numerous restaurants, fate would play a hand in his future: though only seventeen, the Chef packed his bags and became the first head Chef at the Little Italy Gourmet in San Diego California. A few months later, he joined Galileo restaurant as head chef in Washington, DC. and ran a four star kitchen.Between then and now, Enzo has earned success and respect in the culinary world while working and owning numerous and successful Washington DC restaurants such as Donna Adele, the Radicchio restaurant chain, the acclaimed fine dining Barolo on Capitol Hill, the Italian tapas restaurant concept Atrium in West Palm Beach, Florida and working as Executive Chef/Consultant at Teatro Goldoni restaurant.
Throughout the years he has earned two nominations for The Chef of the Year by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington; won a few national awards and was recognized by magazines and newspapers across the country for the authenticity and for his approach to modern Italian cooking as well as his playful inventiveness.
With unflagging energy, Chef Fargione still finds time to teach cooking classes where he passes on his personalized vision of modern cooking as well as attending and supporting local charity events with his fellow chefs. Chef Enzo is an active and proud member of the James Beard Foundation where he regularly cooks and appears in its kitchen in New York City.
Are there any family influences on your style and taste?
My Mother…only on taste my style is my own developed over many years.
When did you realize you really were a chef?
At heart when I was 3 years old. Professionally I am still trying to get there as no one will ever know everything.
What are some things you do that keep you growing professionally?
The continuous search for taste, combination of ingredients and concept on the plate.
Your favorite drink/cocktail?
Golden Margarita on rocks no salt.
What is your favorite night at your restaurant? Why?
A busy Saturday dinner. Adrenaline runs fast in all of us during service.
Who would you love to have prepare a meal for you?
My grandmother….one last time as she’s 94.
What is something about you that people would find surprising?
I write poetry and lyrics for songs.
What would your last meal on earth be, where would you have it, and with whom?
At home, with family, friends and people I love. Food would be unimportant.
What is the best piece of advice you would give to a person who cooks as a hobby?
What has been your funniest kitchen incident?
I aced the dishwasher to wash organic rabbit we just received by a farmer as they had a small slimy natural coat on them. He ran them through the dishwasher machine….they were clean alright: medium rare, sanitized and rinsed!
What is your favorite ingredient?
Don’t have one.
What is your favorite item on your menul?
Reginetta pasta stuffed with duck ragu’ in butter sage and shaves of Reggiano with winter black truffles on tasting menu.
What is your favorite kitchen tool?
My small tweezers for precision plating work.