Cafe Society

Eric Cimino, chef of Luca, on the number one rule in Frank Bonanno's kitchens

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Your worst traits: I often try to be everywhere at the same time. I have to remind myself that it's just not possible.

Which talent do you most wish you had? I'd like to be more talented when it comes to making cheese. There's a real art to the cheese-making process; I wish I had it.

If you had the opportunity to open your own restaurant with no budget constraints, what kind of restaurant would you open? I'd probably head down to Central America and open a small restaurant on the beach that's attached to ten bungalows.

Biggest mistake a chef can make on the line: Not trusting your crew and not understanding their abilities and limitations.

What's been your worst disaster in the kitchen? I cut myself pretty badly on the meat slicer my second week at Luca and had to get stitches. It was painful, but I think my pride was more damaged, because I was the new guy trying to learn everything with one hand.

Craziest night in the kitchen: Last Tuesday afternoon, we had a power line to the building explode and then catch on fire right on top of the roof. Some of the staff was on the roof with fire extinguishers, while the rest of us were scrambling to get all the prep put away in the kitchen and salvaging whatever product we could. And because there was a blackout, we didn't have service at Bones, Vesper or Luca. The good news is that I got an unexpected Tuesday night off, and by Wednesday, things were back to normal.

Biggest moment of euphoria in the kitchen: I haven't had any major moments of euphoria in the kitchen, but the first time everything really clicks on the line, everything is running smoothly and everyone is working really well together -- every time I get a little glimpse of all that hard work paying off -- that's euphoric.

Kitchen rule you always adhere to: The number-one rule in all Bonanno restaurants is no pots on the cutting boards. That's a rule I never break.

Kitchen rule you're not afraid to break: My wife is one of our servers, so I guess I'd have to say dating -- or marrying -- someone I work with.

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson