Chef Ken DeFazio
My longstanding passion for cooking was ignited in my early formative years as a precocious youngster toiling away in grandma’s kitchen. My nonna was from Calabria, and over the course of my childhood, I developed a shared devotion with her in addition to a newfound love for reproducing the timeless Calabrian and European recipes of our Italian ancestors. The years spent at my nonna’s house only confirmed that the restaurant business was my true calling in life and after a long and arduous journey, the light at the end of my culinary tunnel was Trattoria Della Nonna.
The learning experience and wealth of knowledge and skill that spending years at my nonna’s house provided for me was refined in the nineties at C.S.C.A., a college specializing in non-institutionalized culinary arts, located in Cambridge Massachusetts. I felt that the school would effectively bridge the gap between what my palate had been formed to remember from childhood with the ability to unconsciously create and perfect how food should be cooked and how it should taste. It was at this destination that I met and became a good friend of chef, director, and owner of the school, Roberta Dowling.
Shortly after graduating from C.S.C.A. as a recipient of the Julia Child Award,I worked alongside renowned chef Barbara Lynch, who now owns and operates the enormously successful and award-winning No 9 Park, located in the city of Boston, Massachusetts. Then I found myself at Trattoria Pulcinella, working with Giovanni Olivia in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was during my tenure here that the restaurant was named “97 Best of Boston”, as well as being voted the “Number one authentic Italian restaurant in all of New England” by Zaget.
My next culinary venture brought me to the city of Waltham, Massachusetts where I had the privilege of meeting Salvatore Torcasio, an immigrant from the same area as that of my grandmother. As the owner of Ristorante Marcellino’s, Salvatore and his family were the final ingredient that added to my sensibilities as a creator of authentic Italian cooking, and it was at this establishment where everything I had learned prior was put into perspective for me, especially in terms of my generational roots. With the help of my esteemed colleagues, I was able to reconnect with my Italian family in Calabria and put the final touches on mastering the art of true Calabrese cooking. It was after this homecoming that I sincerely found myself in terms of my craft, and was ready to open up an establishment of my own that would offer Mansfield, Massachusetts the rare opportunity to enjoy authentic Calabrian and Mediterranean cuisine, as fresh and delectable as it was on my nonna’s table back in those aforementioned formative years. Everything I have learned and worked for my entire life has brought me to Trattoria Della Nonna, where the secret’s not in the sauce (well maybe it is), but in the passion, love, and history we bring to your table.
See Ken Defazio on www.BostonChefs.com.