It was a pleasure getting to know Chef Dadisi. He is humble, down to earth and has a great love of life! He is a true entrepreneur at heart and have so much to offer based on his diverse career background. Read on about his culinary life lessons…it is well worth the read!
Chef Dadisi Olutosin, a French trained chef, is a lover of wine, coffee, people and a bit of an iconoclast. He was raised on the foods of West Africa and the American South. Over the years he’s come to incorporate Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latin and Western European elements into his eclectic cuisine. His food, as he calls it, is gourmet comfort food and soul fusion with an international twist. Basically he cooks whatever he feels and works to bring people together by tearing down cultural barriers through good wholesome food. He’s the king of food porn and has been called a gastro sadist by many who follow up in DC and on social media. Food is his passion and soon you will come to experience it for yourself.
Congratulations Chef Dadisi Olutosin on being our Chef of the Month for August!
1. Where do you work and where are you based?
I’m based in Washington, DC and New York City. I spent years working in various restaurants in DC but in October 2014, I branched out on my own and launched the Center Plate Supper Club, which is a private dining pop-up I host twice a month.
Along with that, I also offer personal chef services and do some restaurant consulting. Suffice it to say, I’m one busy chef!
2. What is your favorite kitchen tool in creating your masterpieces?
My 10″ chef’s knife and my immersion blender – that thing is like a super powered kitchen tool.
3. What is your sharpest sense out of all the 5 senses?
My sense of smell. I have a highly sensitive nose and like a superhero can differentiate various spices, foods, etc pretty accurately. When I walk into a restaurant, I can tell the different aromas. I rely on it a lot when cooking. People eat with their eyes and if you can’t smell, you can’t grasp everything about the food. As you get older, your taste buds change.
4. What advice would you offer for aspiring chefs?
The best advice I can give an aspiring chef is to stop seeking celebrity. Be careful of being in the spotlight. We live in a time where being a “celebrity chef” is a thing. It’s like a shiny object a magpie would seek out to place in their nest.
I tell aspiring chefs all the time, stay in the kitchen, perfect your craft as a cook, stay humble and continue to learn. Become known for your skills in the kitchen, your knowledge of technique, your ability to work well with and teach others and how to effectively run a kitchen. Regarding social media, present yourself always as a professional. Know who your audience is.
Ultimately every aspiring chef will want to be an executive chef one day. You must have these skills to be successful.
5. What is one culinary tip every chef should know and perfect?
It you’re cooking Western cuisine, you should know and perfect the French Mother Sauces. You can never go wrong with a great sauce that pulls everything together for a dish you’re creating. For example, if you cook a French cut chicken breast, mashed potato puree and asparagus with a sauce that brings the chicken and potatoes together like a tomato based or cream sauce, it will then create a spectacular dish because it tied in all of these items. These sauces – you should know them by heart.
6. What does good food mean to you?
Good food to me is food that’s comforting. Food that ties into your childhood memories of your favorite dishes from your mother, grandmother that brought that smile to your face that’s indescribable.
When I travel from city to city, I always view how good the comfort food is and not by how many high-end award winning restaurants they have. I like to eat in the hole in the wall restaurants where you will find the locals. Good food is that type of food that you enjoy immensely and leaves you satiated with a great experience.
Chef Dadisi Olutosin’s Grits Recipe – A Southern American favorite
In some circles they may be referred to as Polenta. But this is a classic grits recipe that will give you the creamiest grits known to man.
- Sea Salt
- Sour Cream
- Unsalted Butter
- Purified Water
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Yellow or White Stone Ground Grits
Using a 2 quart pot on high heat, pour 1.5 cup of purified water into the pot. While the water is coming to a boil and 2 tablespoons of sour cream, 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter and 1.5 teaspoons of sea salt. One note about salt amounts, season to taste. Just be sure not to make them too salty.
Using a whisk, stir the mixture while at the same time pouring 1 cup of grits in the pot. Continue to whisk/stir until you see it begin to thicken. Then add 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream and whisk/stir continuously until all of your ingredients are mixed together.
Lower the heat setting to low and cover your pot as the grits completely cook through. Voilà they are done and you have some of the best grits you’ve ever cooked. One final consideration, if you find they are too thick for what you’re going for just add water and stir.
7. What trends as a chef do you see emerging in the near future?
The biggest trends I’m seeing is more chefs are moving away from working in large restaurants and moving towards smaller platforms where they can focus on the quality of their food. This tends to manifest itself in the form of them working in restaurants with no more than 40 seats.
Along with that trend, more chefs are moving to serving multi-course meals based on pre-fixed menus. This allows them to be thematic and more creative with their cuisine. The other trend I’m seeing is coming from diners. Many of them are starting to focus on hosting private dinners with their family and friends opposed to eating out.
You find this to be true with the large number of Internet based chef services that have emerged over the past 3 years throughout the country. Especially in large urban areas where there’s a large migratory and millennial population. I think these trends will continue for some time to come.
8. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? (particular fabric, style, sleeve length, pockets)
I’m simple when it comes to chef coats. I simply need comfort, something that breathes and can stretch and move with my activities in the kitchen. I prefer short sleeves and only wear long sleeves when I’m doing a photo op. Ha!
9. What is your go-to chef outfit? Do you prefer coats, tees, pants, shorts, aprons, hats, etc?
My go to is a black short sleeved chefs shirt that has mesh sides that breathe. Great fabric and easy to clean to use over and over.
I typically wear standard chef’s pants or jeans depending on the environment I’m cooking in. I also were proper chef shoes. They are a must!
I always wear a hat of some sort and a couple aprons, one covering my pants and then a full one covering my chef’s coat.
10. Favorite ingredient to work with?
I have ALOT of favorites but it’s probably garlic. It is a versatile ingredient that should be respected and used properly where it does not over power your dishes but helps complement them.
11. Favorite Foodie City?
I have three in North America: New Orleans, Chicago and Montreal.
12. Best Cake/Dish you have ever made?
I’m not much for making cakes but I love making a good pie or tart. Sweet Potato Pie is my all-time favorite pie to make. I simply love sweet potatoes because it is a versatile root vegetable. As for my favorite dish, New Orleans Creole Shrimp n’ Grits.