28. Fulvio Sardelli of Sardelli's Italian Steakhouse
New Times' Best Of Broward-Palm Beach 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Clean Plate Charlie is serving up 30 of our favorite tastemakers -- restaurateurs, chefs, bartenders, and other foodies who make the South Florida food scene what it is. We'll start with number 30 and lead up to South Florida's number one. All previous Tastemakers are listed at the end of the post.
The Sardelli family has come a long way since opening Franco's Pizzeria in Davie in the mid-1980s.
More recently, Fulvio Sardelli Jr., a fixture in his parents' kitchen since he was a kid, has stepped into the spotlight. In the morning, you're likely to find him running prep at The Tipsy Boar, and beer-and-pork-centric gastropub that opened in early 2013, only a couple of doors from Fulvio's 1900, where Fulvio Sr. runs the show. At night, he's running the kitchen at Sardelli's Italian Steakhouse. The family put its life savings, $1.6 million, on the line to build an opulent four-story Mediterranean-style villa on Hollywood Beach. Late at night, Sardelli Jr. is usually back at the Boar, drinking beer, eating something fried, and watching a game.
The most influential person in my career has been...
Mom and Dad. I've never seen two harder-working people with more passion for the business and for the customers. It's a high standard they set for me and they hold for me, and not just cooking. In the philosophy of our whole organization, there's that undercurrent of doing it right, making sure the customer's always taken care of, making sure that we're putting our best foot forward.
When I'm alone and in need of comfort (and no one is there to watch or judge), the one food or drink I turn to is...
A bottle of wine, an antipasto, or a piece of cheese.
What does the Broward/Palm Beach food scene need more of?
What Broward needs that Dade County has -- all of these little nooks with funky restaurants in places you don't expect them to be. Broward doesn't have that. It's Las Olas, Clematis Street, not small mysterious restaurants.
You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?
Grilled chicken breast. It's just so annoying when people eat grilled chicken breast; it shows their lack of adventure. There's nothing better than cooking for somebody who appreciates all of the nuances as opposed to someone who wants to come in stuff their face. I feel like a guy at a fast-food restaurant when I grill a chicken breast.
You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name, and what do you serve?
The name of the restaurant is No. I would serve whatever I felt like; people don't get to choose. Whatever it is we have that day, a market-driven restaurant -- that's probably every chef's dream, not having to have those rigid rules in place.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully right where I am right now: in the kitchen. I see myself as a better chef, a better restaurateur, and a little wiser. If I could do one thing, I would like to own another restaurant in another city, but I'm not quite sure what city that is yet.
Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting? Abraham Lincoln, George W. Bush, Ferran Adria, John Travolta, Napoleon, and J.K. Rowling.
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