Mark DeNittis Il Mondo Vecchio 1174 South Cherokee Street 303-744-6328 mondovecchio.net
This is part two of Lori Midson's interview with Mark DeNittis, the salumi emperor of Il mondo Vecchio. To read the first part of that interview, click here.
Culinary inspirations: My grandparents, both paternal and maternal, gave me a deep understanding, respect and appreciation for cultivating, gardening, hunting, fishing, and having fun cooking foods. It was part necessity and part wanting to gather the family together for dinner. There was nothing trendy about it. My father also had a creative and playful approach to food, but he always respected the animals roaming the land, air and sea; I'm grateful that he passed that respect along to me. Jean-Michel Matos, from the Breakers Hotel/Breakers Country Club in Palm Beach, Florida, was my first industry chef and mentor -- my industry "father" -- and he taught me the classics and fundamentals of cooking, the hows and whys of cooking, and, last but not least, how to handle a situation rather than let the situation handle you. And I've got to give props to a guy named Jim Mills, a former chef who's now the manager of the Houstonian Hotel Club and Spa, for helping me develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of foods and ingredients themselves. He also helped me cultivate a very mindful approach to culinary departmental management philosophies -- not so much operationally, but the human side of developing and managing a stronger team.