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

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

Today we continue our Q&A with Derek Venutolo, the executive chef The Capital Grille in South Coast Plaza.

Stay tuned for a recipe from the chef tomorrow.

If you missed the first part, click here.

What show would you pitch to the Food Network?
Not going to share my idea!

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:

You're making an omelet. What's in it?
Goat cheese, prosciutto.

You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
Bottles of wine!

Weirdest customer request:
None, every guest should get what they want.

Favorite OC restaurant(s) other than your own:
I rarely eat out as I'm usually at home cooking for my family.

Hardest lesson you've learned:
Read the fine print!

What would the last meal on Earth be?
I love all food.

Who's your hero? Culinary or otherwise?
The men and women who made the culinary industry what it is today.

What cuisine that you are unfamiliar with would you want to learn more about and why?
Thai--Chef Jason has Thai family.

The Capital Grille opens in an area with a lot of other upscale steakhouses, what makes yours different?
We dry age and hand cut in house. Passion for food and guests and attention to detail.

What dish would you tell newcomers to try first?
Porcini Rubbed Delmonico.

Your downstairs neighbor, Seasons 52, serves no butter and makes its name with entrees under 475 calories. Your restaurant is an unapologetic steakhouse where butter is not in short supply. Was there a conscious decision to have this yin-yang dichotomy between your two restaurants by your parent company?
Above my pay grade lol - I am just pleased that both restaurants are doing well!

What were you doing before you cooked at The Capital Grille, that is, what's your background, culinary or otherwise?
Bono's Restaurant, 555 Restaurant. Western Culinary Institute.

So you and Tim Kast from Seasons 52 came from the same Long Beach steakhouse, how did that happen?
555 is very well respected restaurant!

Who would win in a fight between you and Tim Kast?
We are lovers and not fighters! Ha!

What advice do you have for those that might be thinking about starting a career in food?
Follow your passion!

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years? 10 years?
Doing what I love always!

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


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