Celebrity Chefs of South Florida: Ernesto De Blasi of Caffe Luna Rossa

000fq5Located at 34 S. Ocean Boulevard, directly across from the ocean in Delray Beach, Caffe Luna Rosa offers a memorable and authentic Italian dining experience in a casual atmosphere. The restaurant is designed on two levels, with alfresco seating and an elevated open-air dining room highlighted by granite, original artwork and magnificent woodwork. Perfect for congenial conversation and people watching along the shoreline during the day.
Recently, Palm Beach Happening was able to catch up with Executive Chef Ernesto De Blasi to ask him a bit about his technique, experience, and restaurant.

How did you get started in the food industry? My older brother was a Chef and got me a part time job in the 80’s when I was 14. I was amazed with the art of cooking and have been passionate about it ever since.

What is your philosophy on cooking? Overcomplicating a dish is your worst enemy. An experienced artist can do their best work with 3 primary colors. Culinary arts is no different.

Of all the dishes you’ve ever created, which is your favorite? Hand-made pasta. If I was not a Chef I would be a sculptor. With good pasta it is like you are combining both.

Are you enjoying your time in South Florida? South Florida is my home. I am a Florida native and still enjoy all that it has to offer.

Can you tell us a little bit about your past experiences as a chef in a fine dining establishment? Some of my fondest memories are from my time working in Atlanta at the 1996 Olympics. To work with some of the finest Chefs from around the world and see their vast talents and work side by side with them was amazing.

What is the funniest thing to happen to you in your cooking career? When we dumped 5 gallons of grease trap water on the souschef on his last day and made him do 3 shots of warm Tequilla and tobacco sauce. LOL

There has been a trend lately to focus on locally sourced product and fresh ingredients. What foods do you like to highlight in your dishes? Arugula, Tomatoes, fresh greens as well as Florida raised eggs and poultry are just a few items. In South florida it can be quite a challenge in the summer months because of the heat, this is why we change the menu seasonally.

South Florida is a hotbed for chefs who are involved in cooking contests featured on the Food Network. Who is your favorite celebrity chef with a connection to the state, and would you be interested in competing in these sort of competitions in the future? My favorite celebrity Chef would have to be Alton Brown. He is a great teacher and extremely knowledgable. He and his crew were shooting an episode on Seminole Lemons and they stopped to eat at Caffe Luna Rosa. He told me that our house-made Ricotta Cheesecake was one of the best he had ever tasted.

Named Delray’s Best Restaurant for the second year in a row by the Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce and winner of the third annual Best Bite on the Ave competition at Crane’s Beach House Boutique Hotel & Luxury Villas, Caffe Luna Rosa also is recipient of the prestigious TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence. The beachside restaurant is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.  To make reservations, please call 561-274-9404 and for hassle-free online ordering for easy pickup, please visit www.caffelunarosa.com.