Having spent an afternoon with some of New Haven’s most notable chefs, I got sense that the biggest mistake we make when selecting our food is a lack of mindfulness. Jason Sobocinski of Caseus (and of host restaurant Park Central Tavern) spoke about moderation – and the need to “…be focused on what you’re putting in your mouth”.
Joining Jason, Duo Dickinson and yours truly for the conversation were Bun Lai from Miya’s Sushi, Avi Szapiro (who’s opening ROIA in downtown New Haven), uber-home chef Rob Oliver, and Tom Schultz, the Executive Chef at Park Central Tavern.
Duo Dickinson has written seven books on architecture. His latest, “Staying Put: Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want”, was published by The Taunton Press in November 2011.
He has been the contributing writer for home design for Money Magazine, is the architecture critic for the New Haven Register, and a contributing writer in home design for New Haven magazine. He has written articles for more than a dozen national publications including House Beautiful, Home, Fine Homebuilding and was the “At Home” editor for This Old House.
Jason Sobocinski grew up in the Fair Haven section of New Haven. He owns Caseus Fromagerie Bistro and the Caseus Cheese Truck as well as a portion of Park Central Tavern in Hamden. He’s most recently written a cook book for Caseus, filmed a short series for the Cooking Channel all about cheese and “…had a wonderful, although sometimes brutal little son!”
Jason has “a great wife named Kelly who keeps me on my toes and a Great Dane named Brisket who loves to lick my toes. I love all food, be it gourmand or complete crap and my passion is to learn about cultures through experiencing the foods that represent them.”
Avi Szapiro is originally from Bogota, Columbia. His love for food and passion for cooking have taken him all over the world – from Paris, to the Bay Area of California, to Mumbai India. He has cooked in Michelin star restaurants in Lyon and London. He ran a business importing truffles from Spain to the finest restaurants in the U.S.
His latest venture (and adventure) brought him from Brooklyn, NY to New Haven. He is opening up a restaurant on College St. that will be called ROIA. Roia is the name of a river that runs between Italy and France, the two cuisines that are inspiring this new restaurant’s menu.
Bun Lai is a life long New Haven resident, chef, environmentalist, and social activist. His New Haven restaurant, Miya’s Sushi, is the first sustainable sushi restaurant in the world. His restaurant features the world’s only invasive species menu, which features dishes made of foraged ingredients that are threatening to the region’s indigenous species.
In addition to receiving “The Key To The City of New Haven” and “The Seafood Ambassador Award” from Monterey Bay Aquarium, he has been named “Greatest Person of the Day” by the Huffington Post. Recently, he created the second seaweed farm in the United States with pal Brendan Smith of Thimble Island Oyster Company and professor Charles Yarish of UConn.
Rob Oliver is a New Haven native, married to a New Haven native, father of 2, who works for an investment bank.
Rob “…love[s] my hometown, cooking, mountains (hiking climbing skiing), history, travel, hockey and the Red Sox. My wife and I have never been to a movie together. We love entertaining, cooking and spending time with family and friends. People I’d like to have over for dinner: Ben Franklin, Ulysses S. Grant, Smoky Joe Wood.”
Park Central Tavern’s Executive Chef Tom Schultz was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Some of his fondest childhood memories are of spending time with his mother going to family and friends farms and Wisconsin’s famous farmer markets.
Chef Schultz is a naturalist that believes forming good relationships with local farmers will not only help the economy but help better everyone’s lives. His take on Old World Cuisine paired with great wine and beer make for incredible conversation and an unforgettable dining experience. With a flair for fish and game, Schultz shares a passion for great hospitality, local ingredients, and a dining experience to remember.