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Home > FINE DINING > Las Vegas Fine Dining > Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare > Conversations with Chefs
Paul Bartolotta (Part 2 of 6)
After Chef Marangelli, Chef Bartolotta's next mentors were in Italy. The first was Chef Angelo Paracucchi, the chef/owner of Locanda dell'Angelo, where Chef Bartolotta worked for the first seven months he was in Italy. He credits Chef Paracucchi's food as being one of the major contributors to the vegetable seafood cookery style that he employs at Bartlolotta Ristorante di Mare. "This was the first formative contact I'd had with this quality of seafood," he says, "and this sort of very vegetable and simple, olive oil-based cooking."

Next, Chef Bartolotta moved to Northern Italy's foremost restaurant, a two-star Michelin restaurant called Ristorante San Domenico, where he worked under Chef Valentino Marcattilii. "He was only a few years older than I, and we bonded immediately," Chef Bartolotta says of Chef Marcattilii. "He prepared very high-end alta-cucina. He also ran the most disciplined, the cleanest, most organized, most precise kitchen. To this day I don't think there's ever been a saucier that makes sauces like this guy. We became lifelong friends, and he clearly was a mentor as much as a friend. His partner, the principal owner at the time of San Domenico, was Gianluigi Morini, a very elegant man who taught me a little bit more refinement and [made me curious about] things that are refined. He taught me to look at things with a little more detail."

Next, Chef Bartolotta moved to New York, where he worked under Tony May and ultimately became chef of San Domenico. "He really introduced me to how to work in a restaurant in an American context, in a big city like New York," Chef Bartolotta says of Chef May.

While at San Domenico, Chef Bartolotta also worked with Bruno Dussin, the maitre d' and chef that Chef Bartolotta credits with him teaching him the basics of being a chef. "He taught me with the one dimension of my job that I carry with me every day, which is that chefs can and should be visible in the restaurant," he says, "and that while it is your food, you need to cook and make sure you know what's going on in your kitchen. The guests come to meet you; they want to know who you are. He taught me to transition from thinking that I needed to cook every meal to realizing that I needed to empower, train, cultivate, mentor and develop people so that they could cook with me. He likened me to a conductor. I need to conduct, and I need to make sure that [my cooks] hear the same music that I do in their heads. I need to ensure that the cooks have the same taste memory in their mind that I do, so that they can execute my food and, most importantly, the taste of my food."

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