Italians have long been known for their passionate enthusiasm on life, culture, family and food, and Torino-born Chef, Luca Della Casa, is no exception. The Italian Chef has become a much talked about fixture on the San Antonio dining circuit thanks to his impressive work as Executive Chef at Silo Elevated Cuisine and Nosh in addition to being a contestant on the much talked about Food Network Star.
The Mission Team loves going to Silo and to Nosh, where crispy fried oysters abound and fresh, homemade tagliatelle hangs in the kitchen, awaiting its sauce du jour. And clearly, others do too. Della Casa has a humble, happy, hard-working spirit that is contagious for diners coming to both of his restaurants. Since his early days in Italy learning from the best (his grandmother Nonna) to his time working across Europe at different establishments, Della Casa has appreciated the joy that comes from bringing people together around a table. And luckily for us, Chef Luca has turned that joy into a career that everyone can taste and enjoy.
The Mission Team recently chatted with the popular Chef to pick his brain about his inspiration, favorite kitchen supplies, words of wisdom and more. Read the Interview here & enjoy!
MissionRS: You're from Torino, Italy which we're sure is bursting left and right with culinary inspiration. Tell us a little bit about your Italian heritage and how the "homestyle" cooking influences your vision and work.
Chef LDC: I was born in a family that loved to cook and entertain. My best food memories were in my grandma Nonna's kitchen, which is my culinary inspiration.
MissionRS: When did you know that you wanted to make cooking a career?
Chef LDC: After working my way up the ranks in the kitchens of Italy and Spain, I knew that cooking was my passion because I love food and making people happy.
MissionRS: What is one of your favorite pieces of kitchen equipment/supplies?
Chef LDC: I love the cast iron pans from Mission because they get really hot and give an amazing sear.
MissionRS: You know what it takes to work your way up in the industry. Tell us a little bit about your past and any advice you may have for aspiring young chefs.
Chef LDC: I have worked my way up from dishwasher to Executive Chef. My advice is as follows:
1. Be ready to work hard. 2. Be humble; and 3. Always taste your food.
MissionRS: What are some of your favorite and most treasured food memories?
Chef LDC: My favorite food memory is always having Sunday dinner at my Grandma Nonna's house and eating gnocchi with rabbit sauce.
MissionRS: Name a handful of tastemakers/chefs/foodies who inspire you today.
Chef LDC: I am inspired by Chefs like Bruce Auden, Johnny Hernandez, Mark Bliss, Jason Dady, Gabriel Ibarra, Steven McHugh, Tim Rattray, and Stefan Bowers who work hard to put San Antonio on the culinary map.
MissionRS: San Antonio is really picking up as a coveted culinary destination. What other cities do you look to for serious eats?
Chef LDC: My wife and I love New York, Chicago and Seattle. We are planning to visit Portland next.
MissionRS: For a first timer to Silo and Nosh what would your ideal dinner/wine pairings be?
For Silo: Start with the Signature Chicken Fried Oysters and a glass of Sancerre; Oak Grilled Lamb and Palmaz Cabernet, and a Coconut Pie with Tokai.
For Nosh: Truffle Parmesan French Fries; Shrimp and Tomato Salad with a glass of Prosecco. Buon Appetito!
MissionRS: Your homemade tagliatelle is one of our favorite things ever. (Listen up readers- it's a must order at Nosh!) What is the trick to making really good, light pasta? Any other tricks in the kitchen you'd mind sharing?
Chef LDC: The trick to good homemade pasta is to use a high quality "OO" Flour. Follow me on the Food Network Star to learn some of my other culinary tricks.
MissionRS: Finally, where do you see the industry headed? Anything on your radar for the next year?
Chef LDC: I believe San Antonio is becoming a culinary destination and it's also a wonderful place to live. As for the future, I want to take my wife on a vacation.
Make sure to swing by Nosh and Silo- Alamo Heights in San Antonio next time you're in the area. To follow Luca through social media and on his quest through the Food Network Star, use the following links:
#FoodNetworkStar #StarSalvation #TeamLuca @FoodNetwork @FoodNetworkFans
And last but not least, we'd like to say a big thank you to Chef Luca and to his wife, Marcella for being a part of our Mission Chef Series!
*All pictures courtesy of Food Network*