Twelve Days of Chef-mas: Renato Donzelli
While we love showing you delicious food 24/7, we also think it's important that you know who is behind the food you're eating. So, our "Twelve Days of Chef-mas" series will introduce you to a dozen noteworthy chefs from across the state. You can see our full lineup of Chefs here. That being said:
🎶 On the ninth day of "Chef-mas," CT Eats Out brings to you.... Chef and Owner Renato Donzelli of Basso Cafe in Norwalk, CT 🎶
How You Got Started In The Kitchen:
I was a dishwasher, but an opportunity arose in the kitchen because the sauté chef, who has one of the hardest stations - making hors d’oeuvres, stews, sautéed dishes and sauces - was sick. Chef asked me to step up and I give jumped to the line to help, and gained my position.
Favorite Ingredient To Work With:
I liked to work with eggplant. It’s a simple ingredient and very versatile, especially when used in Mediterranean and South American dishes. It’s actually considered to be a fruit, and when raw can be bitter tasting. However, once cooked it becomes tender and absorbs large amounts of liquids, resulting in very rich, flavorsome dishes.
Favorite Menu Item:
I really enjoy creating smaller dishes such as appetizers or tapas, because that way my guests experience many flavors and a variety of ingredients. I get excited seeing people share foods, and ensure that each dish is outstanding and showcases the main food components.
Funniest Kitchen Story:
My kitchen is small and super busy with a lot of adrenaline, energy and focus. I liken it to driving a car at 200 mph. Once our customers leave smiling, we can relax, chat and joke that we have successfully accomplished another journey.
Favorite Holiday Dish To Eat or Cook:
Every day should be a holiday when it comes to cooking and eating. I like to experiment and taste everything, anytime anywhere. On Christmas Day, I will be cooking a suckling pig with agrodolce (an Italian sweet-and-sour sauce) clementine sauce and crispy crackling for my family.
Restaurant In CT That You're Dying To Try:
I would like to experience The Cottage by Brian Lewis in Westport. To be honest, having just created a brand new wine cellar for Basso Café, there’s always something new to discover right here as well.