Interview with Chef Chris Vera-Tudela of Davanti Enoteca - Award Winning San Diego Restaurant
Davanti Enoteca is by far one of the best rated Italian restaurants in San Diego! Davanti's Enoteca has a great vibe, the staff is always amazing, but most importantly the food is to die for! Chef Chris Vera-Tudela is a culinary genius, ensuring each dish is just right for each and every diner. SanDiego.com had the pleasure of interviewing him and finding out more about his background and style!
1. Why did you choose to become a chef?
I became a chef because of my love of the food and the energy it brings me. My family is both Peruvian and Italian, which are such food-centric cultures, and I really saw and grew to appreciate how much food brings people together from the times my family would gather to dine.
2. What is your favorite food to eat?
Peruvian cuisine is my favorite because of the Spanish, Japanese and Peruvian infusions, and because of the freshness of the seafood and the fruits and vegetables that you can’t get in the United States. Peruvian cuisine has a lot of cross-infused food and it’s an amazing cuisine in itself. I personally think it will be the new style of cuisine and that we’ll see it become very popular in the future.
3. What is your favorite food to cook?
Seafood! My motto is “love it, catch it, cook it.” And I love working with all seafood, from A to Z. Any whole fish, shellfish, everything. Every fish is different and every time I work with a new fish I feel like I’ve added to my arsenal. My three favorite fish are local halibut, white seabass and wahoo.
4. What ingredients do you use most for the menu? Why is this a common ingredient?
Seafood of course, but pork is very popular on Davanti Enoteca’s menu. Guests notice that we have pig décor everywhere in the restaurant, it’s all over the walls! We do a lot of pork products - like lard, prosciutto and salami. You can use it so many different ways and it comes in so many variations. There are so many ways to cure it. It’s versatile.
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5. If you had to pick a favorite appetizer, main dish, side dish and dessert off of the menu which items would you chose and why?
My favorite appetizer is a tie between the Focaccia di Recco and the Truffle Egg Toast. My favorite main dish is the Riccio di Mare. The intensity and freshness of the urchin, the emulsification of the lobster stock, and a bit of fresh crab – these ingredients really finish off to create an excellent dish. My favorite side dish is either our Roasted Beet Salad or our seasonal Roasted Squash with farro and whipped goat cheese, which has been a guest favorite for years. My favorite desserts are two of our newer, seasonal desserts: Our Pumpkin Crème Brulee and our apple pie, served in a warm cast iron with vanilla gelato. Both of these desserts use ingredients from San Diego’s local markets.
6. What is the most popular menu item?
Our Focaccia di Recco is the hands down favorite. It’s a combination of a soft, warm bread with various cow cheeses in the middle, and can be topped with fresh honeycomb. It’s perfect for sharing before the main meal, but some guests even order it as a shareable dessert.
7. What is your favorite thing about being a chef at Davanti Enoteca?
My favorite thing is the talent and support that I’m surrounded by. The variety of the chefs who are with this company have such an impressive knowledge of food and we all specialize in something, with my specialty being seafood. It’s great to have a wide variety of chefs to call to “talk food.”
Be sure and see for yourself why Davanti's Enoteca (known to locals as Davanti Little Italy San Diego) has become a favorite San Diego restaurant!
1655 India St
(between Date St & Cedar St)
San Diego, CA 92101
Neighborhood: Little Italy