A Toque With Chef Di Giovanni

A Toque With Chef Di Giovanni

 

 

Carmine Di Giovanni, Executive Chef of The Greenwich Project (above), has worked with some of the world’s finest chefs, including Eric Ripert, Daniel Boulud and Mario Batali. He has also been featured on the Food Networks Best Thing I Ever Ate, Chef Wanted With Anne Burrell and Chopped, as well as the Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations.  Here he answers some questions about the life of being a culinary artist.

What was your inspiration for becoming a chef?

Well, it’s long, hard hours: not for the weak. Being able to create new dishes every day and not have one day like the other, is always a plus, as well as a challenge. The joy of walking through the dining room during service and seeing a guest enjoy what I have made for them makes it all that much more rewarding.

When designing a menu, what do you take into consideration?

Market and seasonal availability is always on my mind when creating a menu. Also price points, for the guest we cater to. I bring in the best products, same as some of the best restaurants in New York, yet charge half as much for them.

How often do you change up the menu?

Menus are driven by the season and what is in the markets, of course. It’s fun changing the menu, making new dishing and plating styles. For example, I’ve been doing a pear and blue cheese salad for four years now and yet every year it’s different, not just a tweak, but completely new.

What are you proudest of on the menu?

The Odd Couple.  I designed this dish with the notion that a person that would order snails would most likely order sweetbreads, and vice versa. So why not round the two out with bacon and garlic? Who wouldn’t like that!

Where do you like to go and eat when you are “off duty?”

 When that happens, which is rare, I find myself around my neighborhood of downtown Jersey City. There is a simple place called Light Horse. It just has good food, service and ambience. It’s an easy go-to spot with quality ingredients used in the cooking.