Our person of the month is David De Lucia. David comes from Tuscany and lives in New York. He is a talented and brilliant chef. David worked as a chef at the prestigious "Casa Lever" for Sant Ambroeus Hospitality Group. Today he is a private chef.
David, tell us about yourself. How did you get to New York?
I'm from Pietrasanta, in the province of Lucca (Tuscany). I landed in New York on December 1, 2016, and the next day I started working at Casa Lever for Sant Ambroeus Hospitality Group. The main reason I decided to move was the passion for New York that equals the one I have for cooking. But I was also drawn to the possibility of more significant opportunities.
When and why did you choose to become a chef?
I decided to pursue this career 17 years ago because cooking allows you to express yourself through an accessory element: art! It is an indispensable element such as nourishment. I think that in Europe, and especially in Italy, food culture is part of our DNA; yet, somehow, it is the kitchen itself that decides whether you are willing to embark on a career so full of sacrifices.
Speaking of a career, yours is very rich!
After studying at the Istituto Alberghiero "G. Minuto" in Marina di Massa, I trained professionally in various restaurants along the Versilia coast. Still, indeed the most critical and intense experience was ten years at La Magnolia of the Hotel Byron in Forte Dei Marmi, which culminated with a Michelin Star in 2012.
What was the most significant difficulty you encountered in the United States?
Without a doubt, communication. Although I already spoke English, the language I had to learn quickly was Spanish. In addition, as far as the technical aspect is concerned, the search for products was not easy but I must admit that the quality available is very high.
Now you have chosen to be a private chef. This is a fascinating topic because many chefs like you have decided to leave the restaurant and start working on their own in recent years.
After spending five years in New York, I decided to return to Italy because of the pandemic. Shortly before my departure, I received a proposal that I could not refuse, that is, to return to the kitchen and personally prepare everything that is served at the table (something that cannot happen in a restaurant because, contrary to what many people think, the role of the chef is purely managerial).
If you had to think of an Italian dish that takes you back to your childhood, which one would you choose?
My grandmother's "crostata di ciliegie" (cherry tart) comes to mind if I close my eyes.
Is there a dish you have enjoyed cooking more than others lately?
Peposo di manzo al Chianti.
What is a typical dish of the region where you were born?
Spaghetti alle arselle (telline clams)
What Italian dish do you think is still little known to Americans?
Cacciucco alla Livornese, an intensely flavored fish soup that uses two ingredients usually used with meat, sage and red wine.