Cooking alongside his mother, Dale Talde embraced the richness of his Filipino culinary heritage early on. And that initial spark of interest led him from his Chicago hometown to the Culinary Institute of America. After he graduated in 1998, Talde returned home to work on the opening team at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Vong and Shawn McClain’s Spring. His next position, consulting at Vietnamese Leanne, reaffirmed his love of Southeast Asian cuisine.
Talde went on to work dinner service under Carrie Nahabedian at New American Naha, and just to make sure he didn’t sleep, he simultaneously worked lunch service at Kevin Shikami’s Kevin. A chef de cuisine position drew Talde to modern Chinese Opera in 2003—until an even bigger opportunity called him back east.
In 2005, Talde joined the Morimoto kitchen in New York City, working under Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Restaurateur Stephen Starr. His work with Starr Restaurants soon evolved into roles as chef de cuisine at New York City’s Buddakan and director of Asian concepts for the company. In 2008, Talde competed on season 4 of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” as well as season 8 “Top Chef: All-Stars” in 2010.
In 2012, partnering with Restaurateurs David Massoni and John Bush, Talde opened his very own Asian-American restaurant, Talde, in Park Slope, feeding the masses a daring vision of the flavors he loves. He’s since gone on to open Pork Slope, and signed on as chef-partner of Massoni and Bush’s first restaurant, Thistle Hill Tavern.
Why: Although I cook meat, I’m against any kind of animal cruelty.
About: The Humane Society reduces suffering and creates meaningful change for animals through policy, cruelty investigation, and animal disaster relief.
Interview with Chef Dale Talde of Talde – New York, NY
Dan Catinella: When did you begin your culinary career?
Dale Talde: I went to the Culinary Institute of America at 17 years old. It laid the foundation for me to be around really cool people and learn new things. I worked at the Four Seasons.
DC: What are the responsibilities between the three co-owners?
DT:I have three restaurants. I’m the chef and BOH manager for each location. My business partner John does the bar, and David does front of the house. It’s collaborative.
DC: How did you get your funding?
DT: It was grass roots. We asked everybody and anybody.
DC: Who are you mentors?
DT: Cary Naveen in Chicago; Jeff Rosenthal, another chef in Chicago; and my mother.
DC: What’s your secret to sucess?
DT: Collaboration. Talde is definitely chef-driven, but I like to think if you’re the chef in the restaurant, it’s a chef driven restaurant. The other owners do have a culinary background, so they understands things that other people may not.
DC: How do you inspire yet retain your employees?
DT: Treat people well and everyone has to have fun. If you're a cook these days, you need to look for a place you are comfortable in. I’m not saying you won’t work hard but you will enjoy it. And definitely about treating people with respect. When I was growing up it was definitely a tough environment.
DC: What are your top three tips for running successful restaurants?
DT: 1. Be nice. It’s a hospitality business. That has to include employees.
2. Surround yourself with a good team—it’s one of the only reasons we are at where we are.
3. Taste your food.
DC: What’s your five-year plan?
DT: I think the goal is to put out good food and to try and run stable businesses.