Like painters, writers, poets, musicians, and just about any field of creatives, chefs cultivate their own style of cuisine.
Grant Achatz, one of the leaders of the American molecular gastronomy movement, is known for his elaborate, multicourse tasting dinners intended to make the diner feel like he or she is engaged in participatory theater.
Gordon Ramsay is known for his passionate screaming fits and simple yet impeccable fare -- and a pastry chef's attention to detail.
Likewise one of our hometown favorites is recognized for his love of fat and creative takes on Americana classics, Dada Restaurant & Lounge's Bruce Feingold.
We chatted with Feingold about his love of, well, animal grease, new menu items (bacon is included), and his favorite places to eat when he's not in the kitchen himself.
Clean Plate Charlie: So, we'll start with what you've been up to lately. Do you have anything new going on at the restaurant?
Feingold: Well, we are serving an amazing Redfish, part of the friends of the sea program (a nonprofit aimed at conserving marine life). And obviously we still love our bacon; right now, we're doing a five-spiced candied bacon appetizer and "The Bunny" -- I managed to get bacon into our desserts. Think a brownies sundae with bacon caramel and bunny ears.
Speaking of bacon, you're known for your love of meat and fats, yet you recently won a vegan competition at Garlic Fest. What was it like going through the contest?
[laughs] It was a rough one. I had to really think outside the box and get creative with tofu and vegan to boot, but after I zoned in, it ended up working out.
The most influential person in my career has been...
Early on, my Poppy Lou taught me what it meant to be a good person personally and cookingwise. And well, Mark Militello [James Beard Award-winning celebrity chef] was a big part when I was on my externship, but as years went by, I developed and believed in my own style, and it grew from there. My partners Scott [Frielich] and Rodney [Mayo] let me run with my style. Reading about Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsey, Albert and Michel Roux, and such great chefs helped along the way.
What's your guiltiest food pleasure?
My love for pork belly, foie gras, Take Five candy bar (dark chocolate version). I love -- and feel guilty about -- foie gras and pork belly just by the pure richness to it, the silky-smooth texture and overwhelming flavor. As for the Take Five, well, 'cause I like dark chocolate and it is just sinful.
What is your most despised food trend?
Not a big fan of the foam craze or the making of new names for dishes that have been done (i.e., trying to hard).
What would you like to see more of in Broward and Palm Beach?
I think since I enjoy it so much with my friends, I'd like to see a lot more restaurants offering a small-plate section, or more items that are sharing-friendly. My friends and I enjoy eating and talking, so the more to share the better. Sometimes people go out to eat and not go out to have fun and dine -- that's not me.
Where do you like to eat when you're not working?
Depends on the mood, and I know this sounds funny, but Kapow! Noodle Bar. I know it's part of our company, but I like the small plates -- I am a sucker for it. Plus, Caleb [Holman] is an amazing chef, and he's worked very hard to be where he is, and I support him fully.
What're your favorite types of cuisine?
My favorite, well, I like Chinese food, as well as good old-fashioned Americana. But really, I'm into anything that is cooked with passion.
DaDa Restaurant & Lounge is located at 52 N. Swinton Ave. in Delray Beach. Call 561-330-3232, or visit dada.closermagazine.com.
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.