BOSTON, Mass. — Dalla Cucina Chef Michael Ceraldi has more than 15 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He has worked for some of the most influential chefs in Italian cuisine in New York and in Bologna including Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batali, and Roy Caceres. He has also worked in continental kitchens, most recently with Chef Edward Lee with whom he battled to victory on The Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.” Chef Ceraldi has taught cooking classes in New York, Kentucky, and Massachusetts, focusing on the foundations of the Italian kitchen. Ceraldi relocated to Provincetown to join the Dalla Cucina team as its executive chef in 2010, and lives in the community year round with his family.
Ceraldi will be showing off his gourmet creations at this year’s Taste of Provincetown August 25. He’ll also take part in the cooking challenge—which will see Ceraldi face off against Chef Lucio Garnica of Sage Inn & Lounge and Chef Alex Sáenz of Ten Tables Provincetown. The event will be refereed by Sweet Cheeks BBQ chef/owner Tiffani Faison. Frank Vasello of Relish, who won last year’s cook-off, and Robert Wilson, the writer behind the popular blog BosGuy.com will judge this year’s contestants.
MassEquality caught up with Chef Ceraldi to ask him a few questions about life in the kitchen!
Q: What is your signature dish?
A: I’m not sure of all time but this season people really love my potato gnocci with native lobster, sweet corn, thyme and black truffle. It’s kind of an Italian doing a classic lobster boil where the lobster corn and red skin potatoes are all in one pot. Also the calamari in agro dolce secret recipe.
Q: What is your favorite ingredient?
Salt and whole hogs. The amount of different flavors and textures you can get from a whole pig make it an ideal ingredient. I also love butchering them and working directly with the farmers. I have one being raised currently at Hillside Farms in Truro that we are going to finish on acorns I’ve collected in the autumn.
Q. What are you likely to prepare for yourself when you are cooking at home?
A. Scrambled eggs in the morning with my kids (they do some of mixing) and something on the grill in the evening.
Q. What’s your guilty pleasure (food-wise)?
A. While living in New York City, it was Chinese food and slices, now it’s probably bread and butter.
Q. What excites you most about creating a menu?
A. Using ingredients available at the time and place.
Q. If you could only cook with three tools, what would they be?
A. A Japanese knife, high powered blender, and my steel tongs.
Q. What do you like most about Provincetown?
A. The natural beauty of the Provincetown’s unique location at the center of a spiral and the sense of community among the people that live here.
You can see Chef Ceraldi in action at Taste of Provincetown Saturday, August 25 at Provincetown Town Hall from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased online at MassEquality.org/events/taste-provincetown.