Dale Talde’s Piece of American Mango Pie
Most people will remember Chef Dale Talde from the Bravo TV hit show Top Chef: Chicago (2008) and Top Chef: All Stars (2010-11). Top Chef: Chicago also introduced its audience to other now well known chefs, but Dale Talde’s unique style has continued to set him apart from the pack.
While Dale’s heritage is Filipino-American, he demonstrates a distinct blend of Thai, Vietnamese, and Japanese cuisine as well. Each dish he creates is bold, assertive and full of carefully layered flavors. From his breakfast ramen (served at Brunch) to his simple and straight forward mango pie for dessert, there’s definitely “something for everyone” on his menus.
His innovative techniques and conceptually playful approach to cuisine makes for a unique and enjoyable time at any of his restaurants. As a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and working under the likes of Carrie Nahabedian, Shawn Mcclain, and Masaharu Morimoto, Dale Talde has proven to have an extensive knowledge about a diverse background of food, not just Asian style cuisine.
Since Dale is playful with his food, I thought I’d be a little playful too. He graciously obliged with my version of “20 questions”:
- How did the concept of Carrino Provisions come about?
- Anthony and his father wanted a market out here, they approached us about the space and we suggested an Italian Market. The rest is history.
- What has been your biggest challenge opening multiple restaurants simultaneously?
- The scale of the projects was probably the biggest hurdle. The spaces are so large and each one had so many small details that go into them. But having them under the same roof was very helpful.
- Why did you pick Jersey City, NJ for Carrino Provisions and Talde?
- My business partners and I heard about the space from Anthony [Carrino] and John [Colaneri]. We came on over and fell in love with Jersey City. It’s such a cool place and is growing quickly. We’re happy to meet our new neighbors and get to know the scene over here.
- If you had the option of doing it over again, what would you do differently?
- Nothing, we’re all really happy with how it came out.
- What can people traveling to the area expect from the atmosphere and cuisine?
- Jersey City is growing. While there’s already a well-established community of businesses that have been here and are doing their thing, they’re really welcoming to us newcomers. You can explore the area and check out some of the local designers, new restaurants, awesome parks, and cool street art. Our restaurants have a cool vibe – it’s very industrial. We wanted to respect the history of the space with the design so we kept a lot of the old features, like the old elevator pulley is a design component in TALDE Jersey City.
- What are your favorite dishes on the menu?
- At Carrino Provisions, the campanelli with octopus puttanesca is my jam. I love this dish. Everyone who comes in and tries it loves it.
- How do you balance all the restaurants you own and have some sort of a life outside of it all?
- Hah. I don’t, my fiancé knows this is always a struggle. All my business partners and I are careful to help each other when possible. Sometimes that’s me calling David or John and saying “Hey man, I can’t do this today. Can you help?” and I know that they’ll be there. It’s hard but is a bit easier when you have help.
- What advice would you give to young chefs?
- The most important thing is not be worried about the financial situation. It’s important, but don’t let it be an all-consuming worry. Put your focus on understanding the trade and developing your craft. It’s important to have fun in everything that you do. Once you can focus on that, everything else has a way of panning itself out.
- What’s the best advice you’ve received?
- It was from Carrie Nahabedian “make food that you want to eat.”
- What is the mission of Carrino Provisions?
- We want Carrino Provisions to be the awesome neighborhood joint and market where you would want to celebrate any event – from hump day to your birthday. We want to be the everyday spot.
- What has surprised you the most about the experience of opening Carrino Provisions?
- I was surprised at how thirsty people were for the space. They are so welcoming and glad we opened the space.
- Where do you see Carrino Provisions in 5 years?
- Thriving in Jersey City!
- Is there something that you’d love to serve at the restaurant but you are hesitant to? If so, what is it?
- A porchetta is something I really want to put on the menu and is on the way! Not afraid at all, just taking my time.
- As a busy Chef and Restaurateur, what do you consider a luxury?
- Having a day off!
- Would you compete on Top Chef again if they asked you to?
- At this point, I don’t know. It was a great experience and I’m so thankful for it, but I’ve competed twice so I think I’ve run my course on the show.
- What’s your favorite food?
- Anything with rice.
- What’s your least favorite food?
- Chicken breast because it reminds me of health food.
- Is there anything you would never eat?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
- Opening up more restaurants.
- Did you always want to be a chef?
- No, I wanted to play basketball but when you stop growing at 5’6” it’s a little hard.
On a personal note … As a Food Writer, having a food allergy can be challenging, particularly when you’re allergic to peanuts and you’re about to eat in an Asian inspired restaurant. I notified the restaurant well in advance and I made a reservation so that the entire staff was put on notice of my allergy and was thoroughly prepared. If you have any dietary concerns or food allergies, I highly recommend doing this. I was extremely impressed by how my situation was handled and was able to enjoy my experience along with everyone else, without an issue.
Chef Dale Talde is Chef and Owner of 5 restaurants: Talde Brooklyn, Talde Jersey City, Thistle Hill Tavern, Pork Slope Brooklyn, and Carrino Provisions. Talde Jersey City and Carrino Provisions are also owned by Restaurateurs David Massoni and John Bush, as well as HGTV’s Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri. For “all things Dale Talde” , you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter. Special thanks to Dale for taking the time out of his extremely busy schedule to answer any questions I had.