Vincenzo Indelicato, The Club

The Club’s executive chef Vincenzo Indelicato chose culinary school over art school after hearing he could eat for free.

photography by Elizabeth Lavin

The Italian executive chef chose culinary school over art school after hearing he could eat for free. He’s since perfected his cuisine in Zurich and Caracas and finally Dallas, where presumably he still gets a free lunch.

Where I eat in Dallas: Trece and Parigi for the quality of food they serve, Oceanaire for seafood, and Pappas Steakhouse for a good steak.

What I cook at home: On Sundays, I usually prepare steak and risotto or pasta, or sometimes a roasted chicken.

Produce you should be buying now: Fresh white truffles from Alba, Italy (use sparingly to enhance scrambled eggs, risotto, and fettuccine), porcini mushrooms and seafood from the Northwest (United States), and chestnuts from Europe.

Indulgence food: A simple dessert such as an almond pastry, chocolate, cheesecake, or truffles.

Favorite kitchen tools: Small knives, a pressure cooker, and a good pair of scissors—very practical—especially for cutting fresh herbs. Buy utensils that last a lifetime. Stainless steel is best. Never cook in aluminum; it’s a very soft metal, and it deteriorates very fast. Don’t cook in Teflon either. When you heat your pan above 450 degrees, the Teflon comes off, and then it’s in your food.

Ingredients used most: The freshest and the best.

Two things every kitchen needs: Good lighting and good ventilation.

Cooking is like art: There’s no recipe to paint a picture. Everyone paints differently. It’s the same with cooking. Everyone cooks differently. You should read all the cookbooks, but only experience can teach you how to do it. Memorize your mistakes and don’t repeat them. Cooking is an evolution of timing, seasoning, art, craft, and personal input. Change things until you accomplish what you are looking for.

Tips: Rehearse everything before you cook. Know which pot you are using. Put out all your ingredients. Ascertain the quantities. Double-check the oven temperature. Read the recipe twice. If you cook seafood, open the windows. If you are cooking onions, do them outside on the grill. The fragrances of seafood, onions, and garlic stay in the house for a long time.

Signature dish: Premium bone-in tenderloin. If you were to eat one piece of red meat a week, as the American Heart Association recommends, I guarantee this would satisfy you. I pair it with homemade, organic pasta with fresh porcini mushrooms.

photography by Elizabeth Lavin

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