I have always dreamt of working in a professional kitchen!  It really is fascinating to me….both the creative process and the mechanics & timing that needs to be in choreographed alignment. This fantasy did indeed come true last week when I had the honer to cook at one of my all time favorite NYC restaurants, Dell’Anima. The kitchen at Dell’Anima is even more intriguing as it’s a super small, open kitchen, where every move needs to be executed with grace and in unison.

I have yet to visit Dell’Anima without savoring over the braised octopus, one of the dishes they are most renowned for! And rightfully so, this dish absolutely blows my mind with the punchy citrus flavor coupled with the bitter chicories, creamy beans, smoky & spicy chorizo…and then add the crispiness of the octopus….I mean {{{BOOM}}} this is an explosion in your mouth! Please promise me you will give it a try for yourself!

The captain of this ship, chef Andrew Whitney, embraced me with tattoo’d open arms into his teeny tiny kitchen, walking me through the process of their famous octopus from start to finish.  I thought my knife skills were pretty darn great until I witnessed a pro’s precision & speed at work….I think a knife skills class might be in my future.  I diced & chopped, seared & sautéed and LOVED every last minute of my sous chef field trip to Dell’Anima!

Through my consistent visits over the years (i’m a creature of habit) Joe Campanale, owner and beverage director, has become a friend and was kind enough to invite Eye-Swoon into his domain while also teaching me some of his master skills behind the bar. Keep your eyes peeled for the Dell”anima follow up post on ES!  **And be sure to check out Andrew’s hilarious Swoon-isms below!

A massive thank you to my girl, Chloe Crespi, for the incredible photography!

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