Few know how to party harder than Dante Boccuzzi. Known for heading a rock band of merry chefs, he's run restaurants in New York, San Francisco, France and Italy, and has opened six restaurants in Cleveland over the last eight years. Now he's joined forces with Executive Caterers CEO Harlan Diamond to make appearances for personalized meet-and-greets, customized menus for dinner parties, weddings, corporate events and special affairs. Boccuzzi talks to us about what's in store as he takes his top chef skills out of the restaurant and into the future.
Q. Why did this partnership make sense for you as a chef?
A. I'm always getting requests to do catering for big parties or special events, and it's always on a Saturday night when I don't have the extra staff or I don't have the facilities. Executive Caterers has all these resources — they have these mobile kitchens on semi trucks, they have all the props and supplies.
Q. What are some of the challenges you face as a chef playing host to larger audiences?
A. In a couple of months we're doing a wedding for 400 people. They want a sit-down, coursed-out meal. They want a tasting menu for 400 people at their house on a summer day with a kitchen we're going to build in their garage. The new challenge is that they want the same experience as if their wedding was here at the restaurant.
Q.What are some of the new creations you've come up with?
A. We provided a Ginko sushi experience at a bar mitzvah [at Landerhaven]. We brought in 2,000 pieces of sushi, and I brought in a sushi chef who was there on-site rolling sushi to-order. They enjoyed our late-night noodles we offer at Dante, so I was also able to create a Tokyo ramen bar with a chef preparing different bowls of noodles with different garnishes and broths. It was totally exciting for this young man and his family.