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It’s All Greek at Dio Deka

Friday, 7. September 2012 5:25

A gorgeous blueberry-white chocolate parfait at Dio Deka.

Well, except for the chef.

Marty Cattaneo admits he’d never really cooked Greek food before taking over the head chef position at the high-end Dio Deka in Los Gatos nearly two years ago.

But that didn’t stop this talented chef who has cooked with David Kinch at Manresa in Los Gatos, Jeremy Fox at Ubuntu in Napa and helped in the development of the cookbook, “Mourad: New Moroccan” (Artisan) by Mourad Lahlou of Aziza in San Francisco. In fact, if you catch a rerun of “Iron Chef America” on the Food Network, you’ll spot Cattaneo in the background as one of Lahlou’s sous chefs in his battle.

Because of the similarities between Moroccan and Greek cuisines, Cattaneo felt comfortable enough stepping into this challenging role. Plus, it helped that he studied every Greek cookbook he could get his hands on.

He doesn’t consider what he does at Dio Deka traditional Greek food by any means. But after getting a chance to experience his food as a recent guest of the restaurant, I can attest that it’s downright delicious and inspired, nevertheless.

A peek into the open-kitchen on a busy night.

After weathering a few chef changes over the past five years, Dio Deka remains as popular as ever. Even on a Wednesday night, the dining room was packed. There were even two private parties going on at the same time. Located in the Hotel Los Gatos, it’s a loud, lively restaurant, but with quiet, subtle touches like the fresh rosemary sprig tucked into your napkin at the table.

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Scenes From SF Chefs 2012

Monday, 6. August 2012 5:24

Chef Mark Dommen (R) and Chef David Bazirgan (L) begin to plate their lamb dish in the first chef's challenge at SF Chefs.

If you spied the huge white tent pitched in the heart of San Francisco’s Union Square this past weekend, you knew it could only mean one thing:

The arrival of SF Chefs, the annual food-wine-cocktail extravaganza that celebrates the Bay Area’s home-grown culinary culture.

Top chefs, vintners, sommeliers and mixologists descended upon downtown to put on a series of special dinners, wine seminars, panel discussions, and culinary battles before setting up inside the tent to dole out gourmet eats and drinks to throngs of attendees.

Chef Joey Altman’s all-chef band, the Soul Peppers, entertained the hungry crowd.

On the opposing team, Chef Omri Aflalo of Bourbon Steak, readies his dishes.

Earlier that afternoon, the first round of the Eater Chef Challenge took place at the Westin St. Francis Hotel, pitting the team of Mark Sullivan of Spruce in San Francisco and Omri Aflalo of Bourbon Steak in San Francisco against the team of Mark Dommen of One Market Restaurant and David Bazirgan of the Fifth Floor in San Francisco. With an hour on the clock, the two teams had to incorporate lamb and Guittard chocolate into two dishes, which were presented to a panel of judges.

The Sullivan-Aflalo lamb dish.

The Dommen-Bazirgan lamb dish.

As the clock ticked down, the Dommen-Bazirgan team plated their lamb dish with mole flavors, along with chocolate ice cream created with liquid nitrogen. On the opposing side, Sullivan and Aflalo put up their lamb dish with a Moroccan influence, along with chocolate mousse with caramel.

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