Paul Castronovo: Give Him Pasta and Wine and He's Good to Go

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If you've spent more than five minutes in South Florida, you know who Paul Castronovo is. As part of the Paul and Young Ron Show, Castronovo has woken up more South Floridians than a strong cup of Cuban coffee.

The Paul and Young Ron morning radio show is much more than the usual comedic high jinks. It builds our community while it entertains, and a large part of that is food talk.

Castronovo, you see, is the ultimate "foodie," talking about local restaurants, interviewing chefs, and participating in the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. The radio personality is also president of Castronovo Vineyards, which imports a fantastic Montelpucciano d' Abbruzzo from Italy.

When Paul Castronovo talks about food or wine, hundreds of thousands of people listen. And that makes him one powerful Tastemaker and number two on our countdown.

The most influential person in my career has been...

Radio: Kidd Kraddick, a radio personality out of Dallas,Texas who, early in my career as a morning personality, had ideas and thoughts that pointed me in the direction -- the right direction -- that helped guide my career where it is today.

Wine: Bruce Hunter, president of Shaw-Ross Importers. He's forgotten more about wine than I will ever know.

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...

My comfort food is pasta, in all of its glorious forms. Toss some porcini mushrooms in a cream sauce and a bottle of Super Tuscan and I'm good to go. I make it easy on myself and go to Anthony's Runway 84 and let them cook for me.

What does the Broward/Palm Beach food scene need more of?

Gastropub places -- hip, "what chefs want to eat when they're stoned" food; however, Rebel House in Boca and HMF in Palm Beach (at the Breakers Hotel, of all places) are beginning to turn heads.

You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?

Ridiculous, annoying, unnecessary, dangerous energy drinks! Enough already! Have a cup of coffee or an espresso!

You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name, and what do you serve?

Castronovo's Tuscan Steak and Pasta. Great, Italian-themed steak house serving fresh, homemade pasta dishes, the freshest ingredients, and an interesting, not expensive wine list, good music, a great drinking bar with classic cocktails. All I want is a corner table with a phone, like in the movies.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

At my radio partner Ron Brewer's funeral. (See, that would be a joke.) Actually, dragging my butt out of bed at 4 a.m. and entertaining South Florida morning commuters, as that has become my life's work. That and counting some money that I hopefully make off the sales of Castronovo Vineyards!

Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?

George Clooney; there's so much mankind can learn from him. Al Pacino, the greatest actor of his generation, and I recently saw his one-man show -- fascinating, but I need more. David Letterman; I wanted to be him. John Belushi; do you need to ask? If my wife isn't available, I'd like to invite Jennifer Aniston, circa 1997 era. Is that cool?

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 2013 Tastemakers are listed below.

30. Robyn Almodovar of Palate Party Food Truck

29. Chris and Jordan Bellus of Laser Wolf

28. Fulvio Sardelli of Sardelli's Italian Steakhouse

27. Brett Chiavari of BC Tacos

26. Mike Halker of Due South Brewing

25. Chrissy Benoit of the Little House Boynton Beach

24. Dean Max of DJM Restaurants

23. Lauren Bowen of Tap 42

22. Vaughan Lazar of Kapow!

21. Eric Guerro, Mark Fee, and Jeff Evans of Angry Union Brewing

20. Ben Lubin of The Blind Monk

19. Susan Kim of Gabose

18. Julieta Bocos of Casa Frida

17. Marc Falsetto of Rok:Brgr

16. Frank Coniglio of E.R. Bradley's Saloon

15. Iliya Dimitrov of Valentino's Cucina Italiana

14 Tim Lipman of Coolinary Cafe

13. Lauren DeShields of Market 17

12. Cleve Mash of Dirty Martini

11. Jodi Swank of Swank Farms

10. David Sabin of Brickhouse PR

9. Lindsay Autry of Sundy House

8. Tom Moynihan of d.b.a./cafe

7. Steve Martorano of Martorano's Cafe

6. Tim Petrillo of the Restaurant People

5. Nanci Alexander of Sublime

4. Ryan Sentz of Funky Buddha Brewery

3. Rodney Mayo and Scott Frielich: South Florida's Savviest Restaurateurs

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

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