Dana Klitzberg
I have worked in many of the top kitchens in Italy and New York. I marry New York's eclecticism and sophisticated palate with the Italian culinary tradition of delicious seasonal food and clean flavors. My food is beautiful on the plate - but most importantly, it's absolutely delicious.
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"Dana was a pleasure to work with and everything was delicious and fresh. Her shadow cake will go ..."
My culinary résumé
2008 - Current
Private Chef
Executive Chef
Blu Aubergine, New York, NY
-Owner and Chef of this culinary company: catering, private chef work, restaurant consulting, writing, teaching
2002 - Current
Private Chef
Executive Chef
Blu Aubergine, Rome, Italy
Founded this culinary company while working in the restaurants of Rome, Italy
2003 - 2004
Restaurant Chef
Executive Chef
Ristorante Cibus, Rome, Italy
2001 - 2002
Restaurant Chef
Executive Chef
Ristorante Pasquino, Rome, Italy
2000 - 2001
Restaurant Chef
Chef de Partie/Line Cook
Le Bain, Al Ceppo, Rome, Italy
Chef de Partie at these upscale Roman institutions
1999 - 2000
Restaurant Chef
Chef de Partie/Line Cook
San Domenico NY, New York, NY
worked my way around the kitchen as line cook, chef de partie, and tournant
Kitchit Q&A with Chef Klitzberg
What is the one kitchen tool (other than a good chef's knife) that you can't live without?

Hard to pick just one! I love my Microplane, a good pan or rondeau, and I use the food processor quite a bit. Also, a corkscrew. Great wine is a must in my kitchen, in the food and in the glass!

Where can you be found/what are you doing on your days off?

When I'm home, I'm writing -- for my blog, for travel guides, and working on my memoir-cookbook. When I'm out and about, I'm exploring restaurants and markets and interesting "finds" in New York City, and traveling as much as possible!

Describe your ideal dinner party or event:

Personally, my ideal dinner party is one where I gather family and friends from various parts of my life, in a gorgeous setting, with great food and lots of wine flowing. For clients, the ideal party or event is one which brings clients' friends, family, and colleagues together, with delicious food and free-flowing drinks...and one they don't want to end early. Lots of smiles!

What do you love most about being a chef?

Bringing smiles to my clients' faces and helping them to make wonderful lasting memories. It's also, at the best of times, a fun and social job through which I get to meet great people!

What is your signature dish?

Very hard to select one, but I'm known for my great Italian dishes, including amazing pastas, seafood, and meats, and in particular: EGGPLANT. Melanzane. Yes, I'm obsessed. I've turned many eggplant-haters into fans. I share the love. Also, chocolate desserts. I am trying to marry my 2 favorite ingredients into one dish...still working on the eggplant-chocolate combo.

Describe your most memorable meal:

Impossible! There are too many kinds of memorable meals. Tops are the tasting menu at Enoteca Pinchiorri in Firenze, a birthday meal at Le Bernardin in New York, fabulous fresh fish on the beach in Uruguay, my hunt for the best caponata among the Aeolian islands in Sicily, a spicy lemongrass shrimp dish overlooking the beach on Koh Lanta island in Thailand, amazing ceviche on the coast in Chile, incredible fresh seafood in Barcelona, a multi-course meal with fellow chefs in the Italian countryside with kilos of fresh caviar, a unique tasting menu in Paris...and many amazing meals in various homes with friends. Like I said, too many to mention all of them.

My culinary idol or role model is:

I prefer to pave my own way. I loved Julia Child growing up, and I adore Massimo Bottura, I really admire Ferran Adria', and I enjoy Sean Brock's tenacity and study of food history, but I don't aspire to be LIKE any of these chefs. Again, I like my own thing.

I knew that I wanted to be a chef when:

I first worked in a professional kitchen and, surprisingly to me, I loved it.

My favorite restaurant is:

How to choose just one?
New York: Le Bernardin, Del Posto, Blue Ribbon (the original), Public, Yerba Buena
Rome: La Pergola, Il Sanlorenzo, San Teodoro, Sora Margherita...
Tel Aviv: Messa, Raphael
Certain spots in Florida, Charleston, Puerto Rico, Rio de Janeiro, Thailand, Florence, Paris, London, Morocco, Nice, Barcelona, Sicily, and on and on...
And Bodo's Bagels in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The first dish I ever learned to cook was:

Chocolate desserts

My beverage of choice is:

Prosecco, white wine, and good quality vodka. And good iced tea.

Five ingredients I always have on hand are:

Great quality olive oil from Italy, high quality sea salt, canned San Marzano tomatoes, dark chocolate, and various vinegars and sauces including Asian (sriracha and hoisin).

My idea of comfort food is:

Anything simple and homey, done well: matzo ball soup, beef stew, Vietnamese pho, turkey and stuffing, simple roast chicken and potatoes, polenta with "sugo" with ribs, sausage, etc. Even a good grilled cheese or BLT can be the most comforting thing, depending on timing.

My favorite food city is:

NYC! Then: Rome, Firenze, Bangkok, Barcelona, Paris, Tel Aviv, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Marrakech, Lisbon, London.

Where would you like to take your next vacation?

Vietnam! Turkey! Back to Brazil and to eat at D.O.M. in Sao Paolo! Ceviche-palooza in Peru! Safari in Africa with time in Capetown and SA wine country! Cartagena, Colombia! Tangiers and Fez, Morocco!

My "guilty pleasure" food is:

Buffalo wings -- good ones -- or Korean fried chicken. And good BBQ.

My favorite season for cooking

Tie between summer and autumn.

My favorite ice cream flavor is:

Mint chocolate chip. But Haagen Dazs vanilla chocolate chip is divine too.

What is one food or dish that you would happily eat every single day?

A good eggplant alla parmigiana or pasta alla Norma (a Sicilian pasta dish with eggplant). And I do eat chocolate every day anyway! Dark chocolate.

Two eggs "my way" are:

Probably poached...though I'm known for my fabulous "morning after" omelette with caramelized onions and boursin cheese.

The five spices/herbs I tend to use most are:

Herbs: basil, Italian parsley, cilantro, rosemary...lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf?
Spices: peperoncino, telicherry pepper, cardamom, cumin, cinammon

You've just been offered your own television show. Describe it:

I travel the world tracing the paths of culinary history, tasting food, meeting the people behind local foods, and exploring top restaurants in-depth!

My favorite local artisan food product is:

Great olive oil and sea salts.

My favorite local produce item is:

Great seafood at the beach, great tomatoes and stone fruits and berries in the country.

What is the one food or food group you couldn't live without?


One food that I'll avoid at all costs is:

It's a beverage, and it's coffee. I know: weird. And I love the smell, just hate the taste. And yes, I'm a chef, and yes, I lived in Italy for years. Like I said, weird.

Unfortunately, this chef only accepts bookings in New York City and Tri-State Area.
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