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Dante Boccuzzi
rising stars
November 2002 NEW YORK

B i o g r a p h y

Dante Boccuzzi, executive chef at Aureole New York, is a self-proclaimed protégé of Charlie Palmer. He started working in restaurants when he was 14, and after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1991, he began his career at Aureole, where for two years he gained extensive experience in all aspects of the kitchen under Charlie Palmer's eye.

With Palmer's encouragement, Dante went on to further his training elsewhere. He spent three years in Europe working in Italy, France, and England in restaurants such as Michelin one-star London restaurant, L'Escargot, the famed Les Muscadins Hotel Restaurant in Mougins, France, and Michelin three-star Gualtiero Marchesi in Brescia, Italy. He also added a "stage" in Hong Kong and Taiwan in his pursuit to explore influential culinary traditions from around the world.

A phone call from Charlie Palmer in 1997 reunited Boccuzzi and Palmer once again. Palmer, working as a restaurant consultant to Silks in San Francisco, decided Boccuzzi would be the ideal chef for this new restaurant. Within months, it was receiving the highest accolades. Dante's classic French menu with subtle Asian flavors interspersed inspired dishes such as Seared Tuna Steak Wrapped in Seaweed with Tobikko Caviar and Shiitake Fritters Laced with Candied Ginger. His three-year tenure at Silks Restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in San Francisco resulted in two James Beard nominations for Rising Chef of the Year in 1998 and 1999 and catapulted the restaurant to the city's top-10 list. Dante then moved on to become executive chef at Nobu/Milan in Italy, working directly with Giorgio Armani at his flagship establishment where the restaurant is located. In 2002, Dante Boccuzzi, celebrated in his own right in Europe and the United States, returned to Aureole as executive chef, where he is now sharing his own personal style of cuisine.

In addition to his classical training and broad experience, Boccuzzi's Italian heritage plays a strong role in his approach to cooking. "The Italian kitchen is very simple and pure, and this characteristic has to be respected. In preparing a dish I try to focus on just two to three ingredients; and in the preparation, make one enhance the other and vice versa. It's always a challenge to make a really simple dish, but to make it perfectly."

Besides cooking, Dante Boccuzzi is an avid musician. About to release his second CD, a combination of blues and rock, Dante hopes to start an all-chef band in New York, similar to one he had in San Francisco.