Round two with Daniel Ramirez, exec chef of Gaetano's
If you could cook in another chef's kitchen, whose would it be? I'd go back to that authentic Italian kitchen with Giovanni at Trilussa restaurant in Rome. I have so many questions for him now that I've been creating Italian dishes for so long. He would always tell me that the best school is in the kitchen, and I'd love to go back to his school for a master's degree.
Favorite celebrity chef: Sonia Peronaci, who publishes original recipes in Italian. She also has a TV show that I'd love to be on someday.
Celebrity chef who needs a muzzle: Mario Batali. I don't care for his cooking shows, and I don't think he does much actual cooking.
What do you enjoy most about cooking? Creating new recipes using classic ingredients and new techniques. I also love training new cooks, specifically on Italian culinary techniques and flavors, and providing them with some Italian-language training.
Greatest accomplishment as a chef: I'm so proud of spending such a long time as the chef at Pagliacci's, and when it closed, I wasn't sure where I'd be able to bring my love of Italian cooking. I was honored -- and so pleased -- to get the position at Gaetano's. To have the opportunity to work in two of the longest-standing, most beloved Italian neighborhood institutions in Denver is really, for me, a very proud accomplishment.
Last meal before you die: What else? Really good, fresh pasta with red sauce.
What's always lurking in your refrigerator? Milk, eggs, orange juice, Mexican cheese, white-corn tortillas, chicken, beef and flan.
When you have a day off away from the kitchen, how do you spend your time? Whenever I have free time, I'm with my kids. I have four of them, and my last two are four-year-old fraternal twins -- a boy and a girl -- so I'm a busy dad.
What question should I ask the next chef I interview? If you were a pasta, what shape would you be, and why?