BEHIND THE STOVE
10 Dishes With Chef Antimo DiMeo
The chef and co-owner of the James Beard-nominated restaurant Bardea Food & Drink in Wilmington, Delaware, tackles our speed round of questions.
After a shift, what is your favorite guilty pleasure to eat? “I have a weakness for ice cream. I try to limit how many times I eat it a week, but I usually like to treat myself to a scoop of gelato after any great service.”
Is there one dish you won’t cook? “I don’t think there’s a dish I would never cook. I always like a challenge. It’s fun to have a vision and then put that vision into motion with the team. That’s my favorite part of what I do.”
All-time favorite spice. “Cardamom. I love how warming and inviting it is. Once you smell it for the first time it will be an aroma you never forget.”
What is your favorite music to listen to while you cook? “I love listening to all types of music. I usually let the staff pick the tunes for the kitchen and that can range from rap and salsa to house. It’s all over the spectrum, but the Red Hot Chili Peppers always seems to be one [group] everybody likes to put on and that always gets people in a good mood.”
Did you grow up cooking as a child? “Yes. I’ve been around food my whole life, it’s in my blood. I grew up in the business. My family always had pizzerias, so that helped grab my attention. But cooking at home with nonna has to be my favorite. Nothing is better than learning some of your grandmother’s unmeasured recipes.”
What cookbook is your go-to resource for inspiration? “I’d say Eleven Madison Park by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara. I think it’s an excellent resource for aspiring chefs or even home cooks. The food shots are beautiful and there are plenty of recipes for anybody to play with.”
After all these years working in restaurants, do you still enjoy going out to eat? “I love going out to eat; it’s one of my favorite things to do. If it weren’t for social media, it would be the only way to keep in touch with the culinary world. Seeing new ideas, tasting new flavors, and most importantly, being with great company, is what it’s all about.”
Is there one chef you’d like to cook with? “I’d love to cook with René Redzepi, he’s one of the best for a reason. I love his creativity and commitment to local cuisine. Even from afar you can tell he treats his craft with such pride and passion.”
Name the all-time best cooking show. “I’ve always loved watching Iron Chef. Great chefs going at it, a one-hour time limit and it’s always fun to see what the secret ingredient is.”
What is the one tool that you always make sure to pack when you’re traveling for business? “Outside of the usual tools, I always like to bring my pasta tweezers. They’ve traveled with me to Italy, Spain and back.”
Antimo DiMeo is chef and co-owner of the James Beard- nominated restaurant Bardea Food & Drink in Wilmington, Delaware.
Interview has been condensed and edited.