Charity is Everything
“We Make a Living by What We GET, We Make a Life by What We GIVE.” –Winston Churchill–
I first met Dan D’Alessio at a fund raiser for the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. He was serving the attendees Wagyu beef tartar to promote his live auction offering of a private dinner for ten — it raised several thousand dollars. Charity and giving is part of what drives Chef Dan. He is someone who is so passionate about food and just as passionate about giving back to the community. It is his intention to be involved in at least ten fund raiser events every year. This year, he has donated private dinner auction item to raise money for Visiting Nurse Association, Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide, Tigger House Foundation, Lunch Break and Ladacin Network. He also worked two fund raisers for Children’s Hospitals and in particular children with cancer and would like to dedicate more time to that.
Taking Different Paths to a Dream
Before becoming a chef, Dan was following in his father’s footsteps and started in Business School. But that was not for him!
After starting at Hofstra on Long Island, he transferred to the Culinary Academy of Long Island in search of something fun and exciting that I put passion behind and not just a money driven job.. After graduating, he worked at the Mill River Club in Oyster Bay, Long Island. He moved back to New Jersey and worked at The Raven and the Peach in Fair Haven and The Rumson Country Club. In 2012, he followed his dream and started Chef Dan, Private Chef and Caterer. It is a service where they transform your home into a restaurant for the event for you and your guests.
Just for Fun:
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: “The love for food and I wasn’t really into school, it wasn’t for me, I was more hands on. I wanted to do something that is not 9-to-5. It appeals to me to be in the kitchen. I fell in love with it. It was a lot of fun.”
Q: What is your favorite local restaurant?
A: “Heirloom Kitchen – Chef David is always changing up the menu and doing some really creative things there. Also, El Nido in Marlboro is amazing.”
Q: How long have you lived or worked in Middletown?
A: “I’ve lived here 20 years. I was born in Staten Island and my family moved to Middletown when I was 12. I have a younger sister, who lives in NYC and a younger brother who lives in Austin. We are very close.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: “Spain, I have never been there yet. I’m dying to go there. It intrigues me, the food, the lifestyle and the people all seem so happy. I’ve been to Italy, but I’ve never been to Spain and would love to learn more about that culture.”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “If you have the drive, there’s a lot of things you can do. Believe in yourself!”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “To own a small restaurant open a few nights a week. I want to put my name on something and cook what I want any given night. You tell me your allergies/restrictions, and I just bring you food.”
Q: What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “Number one is Stevie Ray Vaughan, one of the best blues guitarist that ever lived. My first love was playing the guitar. I’m a big fan of Blues. But I can listen to Blues, Jazz, Hip Hop, Metal. My favorite band at the moment is Sevendust – I’ve been following them since I was a kid. My favorite guitarist alive now is Slash.”
Q: What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Middletown?
A: “The New Monmouth Diner.”
Q: Choosing anyone who is a non-relative with whom would you love to have lunch?
A: “My favorite chef, Daniel Boulud. I just love how innovative he is. He is one of the originals.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
A: “I definitely see myself building a brand. Making or getting behind some cool food brands. I also want to start my own charity — create fund raisers where all chefs get together and play instruments. I’d love to have my name on something that raises money and does not go in to my bank account. I want to be able to give back more than what I am doing now.”
Q: What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “Besides wanting to be a business man before I got in to this, I guess my love for charity. It’s kind of cool to make an impact.”
Q: What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
A: “Food, Family and Friends.”