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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chris DiMercurio of Vino Nadoz Wants You to Trust Him

Posted By on Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Page 3 of 3

DiMercurio next to a sculpture of his favorite ingredient | Beth Clauss
  • DiMercurio next to a sculpture of his favorite ingredient | Beth Clauss

DiMercurio's rebellious edge and playfulness ebbs as he talks about the challenges he faces as a chef.

"I wish people would learn to trust their chef," he says. "It kills me when people come in here and order scallops, and when I present them with a perfectly cooked, mid-rare scallop they tell me, before trying it, that it's undercooked. Or that they want the corn left off of the scallops because it's tossed with ancho chile, which is smoky, but they don't like spicy foods so they aren't even willing to taste it.

"I just want you to trust me, try it. If you don't like it, cool, I'll make you something else. I don't have salt and pepper on the table for a reason. Please don't salt your food before you taste it. Try it. Trust in the fact that your chef knows what they are doing."

DiMercurio's desire for the diner to trust him is an outgrowth of his abiding passion for the chef's life -- a passion that carried him through a time when he considered getting out of the food business completely.

"My wife changed my mind," he explains. "She basically asked me what do you love doing so much that you would do it for free? I said cooking. I love cooking. I love making people happy when they eat the food I made for them. And she was like, well why would you ever give that up?

"She re-scheduled her life for me so I could work at places like Niche where I was gone for fourteen hours a day, and [she] put going to nursing school on hold so I could figure out what i was doing. She worked more while I was earning less. Now it's my turn."

This is part one of Gut Check's Chef's Choice profile of Chris DiMercurio of Vino Nadoz. Part two, a Q & A with DiMercurio, will be available Wednesday. Part three, a recipe, will be published Friday.

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