Restaurateur extraordinaire Adriano Paganini (Beretta, Lolinda Steakhouse, El Techo de Lolinda, Delarosa, Starbelly, Super Duper, Pesce, Uno Dos Tacos) is aiming to open Delarosa's downtown location in April 2015 (complete with fried-pizza options), and it doesn't end there—he's ruminating on a Spanish concept and dreaming of another steakhouse.
1. What's your motto?
Keep it simple!
2. Favorite food as a kid?
My mother's homemade gnocchi.
3. Where do you go for a good drink and what do you order?
An Old Fashioned at Lolinda.
4. Go-to takeout/delivery?
Tacos from La Taqueria in the Mission—it's close to where I live.
5. What Bay Area restaurants are on your list to try?
Monsieur Benjamin, The Palace Steakhouse, Nico.
6. If you weren't a restaurateur, you'd be…?
7. Greatest professional moment?
When, after not being successful for five years as a restaurateur, I opened Beretta—and it was a huge hit from the get-go.
8. When did you first know you wanted to work in restaurants?
At the age 15, when I started culinary school in Italy.
9. Best thing you've eaten in SF?
The Savarin at the now-closed Coco 500 (RIP).
10. What do you make for yourself to eat at home?
Mostly grilled food and pasta at lunch, following weekend bike rides with my longtime friend and business partner, chef Ruggero Gadaldi.
11. What motivates you?
Seeing my team being successful. And witnessing the lines outside of my restaurants doesn't hurt!
12. Food trend you're on board with?
Family-style sharing and portion control. Proper portioning and sharing food helps people avoid overeating and minimizes food waste.
13. Which living culinary person do you most admire?
Paul Bocuse, the first real "celebrity chef" and a true pioneer in French cuisine. I was fortunate enough to work with him in Lyon.
14. What most influences your food?
Travel. I'm inspired by the things I see, taste, and experience when I explore places I've never been to before.
15. Favorite midnight snack?
16. Favorite don't-tell-anyone junk food?
Super Duper burger with grilled onions, cheddar, and blue cheese. It's like a rib eye!
17. Weirdest thing you've ever eaten?
18. Culinary habit you'd most like to kick?
Mine or others? In other cooks: improperly seared grilled steaks.
19. Happiest food moment?
When I was 17, I finally got my chef boss to say the whole leg of veal I roasted in the oven was in fact, perfect!
20. Favorite culinary journey?
In Italy, when I stayed with Gualtiero Marchesi, the first three Michelin star restaurant in Italy and the only one for several years.
21. Describe your work persona in one word?
This article was published in 7x7's December/January 2014 issue. Click here to subscribe.