Executive chef Marty Cattaneo is the genius behind San Francisco’s hellenic gem Dio Deka – and is is no doubt a San Francisco chef to be reckoned with. After getting his start at iconic spots such as David Kinch’s Manresa, Jeremy Fox’s Ubuntu and Mourad Lahlou’s Aziza, Cattaneo moved on to helm his own kitchen in 2011. Now, he sits down with us for an inside look into the Michelin starred restaurant, Dio Deka.
What’s different about your food?
The main thing that separates our food from other restaurants is that we need to keep the food Greek in some manner or another. I try to then differentiate the food further by putting a modern or new twist some traditional Greek dishes.
Are you constantly making changes? How so?
I do not change the menu constantly. I prefer to change a dish seasonally so that we can fine tune anything that needs tweaking. When a central component goes out of season, I make a change. Sometimes this is the protein, sometimes it is an integral vegetable component.
What’s special about your menu?
We offer a great selection of traditional Greek dishes, and our newer, modern approach to Greek food. I am excited to put them both side by side so our guests can experience a little bit of each.
How do your travels and experiences play into your restaurant?
Seeing the food of others is always inspiring, whether it is in their overall philosophy or in a plating style. It could also be in the décor of a restaurant. This inspiration is all around. On my recent trip to Mexico City, I was floored by chef Enrique Olvera’s interpretation of traditional Mexican food at his restaurant. It made me want to be a better man!
Your go-to recipe when cooking outside the restaurant for family and friends…
Any type of grilled steak (preferably skirt steak) with salsa verde and grilled bread. Some sort of grilled vegetable component always makes its way in as well.
Can you share some menu favorites from Dio Deka?
Currently my favorites are the “Potato Salad,” which consists of potatoes cooked three different ways, and seasoned with three different seasonings. It is finished with some Greek yogurt and smoked trout roe. The second is a scallop dish with faro, caramelized yogurt and wild jungle peanuts.
What are your favorite cities to travel for food? What spots do you go to there?
I don’t travel nearly as much as I should!! I love New York. One of my favorite places there is Roberta’s in Brooklyn. I also just returned from an event in Mexico City and ate some really incredible street food. I also had one of the best meals of my life at a great restaurant called Pujol.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I go to the restaurant and stare at the produce in the walk-in. It’s a flawless technique I learned from Jeremy Fox.