You’re only as good as your last dish. The Forge is a journey of always topping that last dish.
— Dewey LoSasso
Dewey LoSasso, Executive Chef of The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar, is one of the nation’s most prolific apostles of Progressive American cuisine. With a culinary ethos that respects the past yet challenges the future, LoSasso was the natural choice to help spearhead The Forge’s rebirth.
Growing up in southern New Jersey, LoSasso was born into an Italian family where his culinary skills and an appreciation of local ingredients were encouraged from a young age. LoSasso remembers his mother hand-selecting lush Jersey tomatoes for her ripe tomato salad – a family favorite that LoSasso ate with crusty Italian bread, sopping up the juices. Parties of 30 were commonplace in the household – where there were two kitchens -- and LoSasso, as an ambitious seven-year-old, flipped handmade pizzas in the restaurant-quality kitchen his father installed in the basement. It was at age 13 that LoSasso realized his passion for cooking when, as a dishwasher at a local Italian restaurant, he began bringing home his daily duty of peeling two quarts of garlic in order to have more time to absorb the culture of the kitchen. He proceeded to work in the kitchen at five additional restaurants prior to graduating from high school.
After graduating from Culinary Institute of America, LoSasso honed his culinary skills at Sign of the Dove, one of New York City’s most acclaimed restaurants of the late 1970s. In the early 1980s he moved to South Florida and worked with legendary restaurants such as LaTour, The Pavillion Grill and the Foundlings Club, an exclusive private membership club in Miami Beach. Here, under the wing of philanthropist/art collector Micky Wolfson, LoSasso began attracting notice for his creative, original cuisine, which he dubbed Florida Progressive.
With Wolfson, LoSasso traveled extensively through Europe and beyond, conducting restaurant research, visiting vineyards and spending time in kitchens around the world. Inspired from his worldly ventures, LoSasso turned the Foundlings Club kitchen into a culinary laboratory, crafting cutting-edge cuisine born of global influences with an emphasis on natural ingredients, including the organic vegetables he grew on a small farm he shared with Wolfson. During his tenure as executive chef/beverage director, LoSasso’s innovative cuisine garnered many awards and put the club on the map as one of the best dining experiences in South Florida.
After a turn as Donatella Versace’s personal chef and food event coordinator, as well as executive chef for the Lipton Tennis Tournament (now the Sony Ericsson Open), LoSasso worked for China Grill Management where he served as executive and concept chef for Tuscan Steak in Miami. He later was relocated to New York to open additional restaurants and serve as executive chef at New York’s 950-room Hudson Hotel. Spending three years in New York, LoSasso decided to re-enter the Miami market and in May 2004, he opened North One 10 to critical acclaim and numerous awards.
With more than five years on Miami’s trendy Biscayne Corridor, LoSasso felt it was time to seek new opportunities and came across The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar’s global search for a new executive chef, for which 172 candidates applied. Owner Shareef Malnik held rounds of tastings at his home, where he challenged eight national finalists to showcase their strongest dishes. LoSasso, with his bold, clean flavors and modern approach to American cuisine, impressed Malnik and ultimately was chosen as The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar’s new executive chef.
Upon his appointment, LoSasso embarked on a 16-week process of creating The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar’s new menu, with an emphasis on farm-to-table and ocean-to-table ingredients. LoSasso studied The Forge’s menus from the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, and pays homage to some of the classic dishes, with modern interpretations.
“I like to pay attention to the way people eat,” says LoSasso. “It reflects not only individual palates, but current cultures, both culinary and social. The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar is unique in that it embraces tastes of a global community with a menu that pays respect to The Forge’s past, but takes rebel risks.”
Dewey LoSasso and his wife Dale LoSasso live in Miami Shores, FL with their daughters, Zoe Sage, 11, and Siena Hope, 8.
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