On The Line: Derek Venutolo of The Capital Grille, Part One
Photo by Todd Barnes

On The Line: Derek Venutolo of The Capital Grille, Part One

A few weeks ago, we profiled the executive chef of Seasons 52. This week, we talk to the guy upstairs. We mean that literally. Chef Derek Venutolo is the executive chef of Capital Grille, the steakhouse that sits on top of Seasons 52 at South Coast Plaza.

Here's Part One of out On The Line interview with him. Stay tuned for Part Two tomorrow and if things work out right, a recipe on Thursday:

What are six words to describe your food?
Delicious, classic, creative, bold, inspired, flavorful.

What are ten words to describe you?
Passionate, creative, driven, inspired, nurturing, outgoing, funny, a leader and dedicated family man.

Your best recent food find:
Food trucks!

Most undervalued ingredient:
All seasonings.

Rules of conduct in your kitchens:
Treat others as would like to be treated - professionalism and standards always!

One food you detest:

One food you can't live without:

Culinarily speaking, Orange County has the best:
Local produce.

What fast food do you admit to eating?

Best culinary tip for the home cook.
Taste your food.

After-work hangout:
Home with family!

If you could cook for one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My wife. She is my best and hardest critic.

Favorite celebrity chef.
Gordon Ramsey.

Celebrity chef who should shut up:
Gordon Ramsey.

Proudest moment as a chef/restaurant owner:
October 18th, opening night of The Capital Grille South Coast Plaza.

Favorite music to cook by:

Best food city in America:
San Francisco.

Favorite restaurant in America:
A little mom-and-pop place where I grew up in Oregon...

What you'd like to see more of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
More consumer knowledge about local farmers and sustainability.

What you'd like to see less of in Orange County from a culinary standpoint:
Chefs who never come out of their kitchen.

Favorite cookbooks:
French Laundry by Thomas Keller.

When you're not in the kitchen cooking, what are you doing?
Playing music, exercising and playing with my three bulldogs, Lola, Maverick and Romeo.

The Capital Grille, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626, (714) 432-1140; www.thecapitalgrille.com.


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