The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2013

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Page 112 of 152

CHEFS: ONE-ON-ONE WITH MERRILL SHINDLER Dale Talde FOR THE CHEF AT TALDE, PORK SLOPE AND THISTLE HILL TAVERN, IT'S ALL ABOUT BROOKLYN STYLE PHOTO: ANNE MASSONI Chef Dale Talde. D ale Talde—whose wildly eclectic style can be found at three of Brooklyn's hottest destinations: Talde, Pork Slope and Thistle Hill Tavern—did not grow up cooking in his hometown of Chicago. In his Filipino-American family his mother did all the cooking. And though Dale watched, he didn't pick up a knife. That didn't happen until a growing love of food inspired him to go to Culinary Institute of America—which led to jobs at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Vong-Chicago, Shawn McClain's Spring, followed by Carrie Nahabedian's Naha, Kevin Shikami's Kevin and Masaharu Morimoto's Morimoto and Buddakan. The man has worked with the modern masters. And yet, at heart, he's still a kid who serves kung pao chicken wings and stuffed Hawaiian bread buns at Talde. And plays pickup games of basketball in Brooklyn whenever he can. Merrill Shindler: What's your earliest food memory? Dale Talde: I was about nine. We went on a trip to San Francisco. We went to a restaurant in Chinatown. My mother told me to order whatever I wanted. I had never seen so many choices. I got congee—it was so good! Did you really never cook growing up? Mom cooked every night. I'd help her in the garden. And I'd watch her cook. But she always made the meal for the family. She worked and my father worked. Even if she had pulled a double shift—16 hours—she made a meal. The rice was always ready when my dad walked through the door. How did you land at a Vongerichten restaurant like Vong? I literally opened the newspaper to Help Wanted. There was an ad looking for a cook. It was as easy as that. Could your restaurants exist outside of Brooklyn? They're all about the Brooklyn style. For me, Brooklyn is a wok with rice in it. It's going to work every day, walking past every cuisine there is. Brooklyn is casual, fun and always unpretentious. What do you cook at home? I can't remember the last time I turned on my stove. I order food from a restaurant delivery website. Whatever I feel—sushi, Mexican, pizza, Indian, everything. Do you have a guilty pleasure? Sure. The Whopper from Burger King, with bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo, onions, pickles—the works. Or maybe Popeye's. And is basketball like cooking? Not at all. It's my way of not thinking about the kitchen. 112  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2013 TP1113_109-156.indd 112 10/24/13 9:16 AM

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