Minneapolis

All photos courtesy of Colita, Martina, and Cardamom

Resy QuestionnaireMinneapolis

20 Questions with Daniel del Prado of Colita, Martina, and More

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In the Resy Questionnaire, we play a game of 20 questions with the industry folks behind some of our favorite restaurants. What’s your most memorable restaurant experience? Your favorite food movie? What restaurant would you want to time-travel for?

In Minneapolis’ very first edition, we talk to Daniel del Prado, the Buenos Aires-born chef who is changing the face of the Twin Cities’ dining landscape with his motley crew of restaurants, including (but not limited to) the Argentinian-Italian Martina, Oaxacan-inspired Colita, Sicilian-style pizza joint Rosalia, Italian dining spot Josefina, and the Mediterranean-themed Cardamom.

The Resy Questionnaire

1. Favorite thing you’ve ever cooked?

Argentinean barbecues (called parrillada), where everybody gets around the grill, drinks wine, and chats while you cook chops, blood sausage, chorizo, vacio steak, costillas (beef short ribs), and chinchulines trenzados (cow intestines). All classics that’re hard to find here, so I do this when I visit Buenos Aires. You couldn’t pay me to cook inside, so my cooking always happens outside on grills.

Chef Daniel del Prado in the Martina kitchen. Photo courtesy of Martina
Chef Daniel del Prado in the Martina kitchen. Photo courtesy of Martina

2. Kitchen tool or equipment you couldn’t live without?

Paper towels (seriously).

3. What pantry items would you bring on a desert island?

Fish sauce, chili flakes, olive oil, limes, and fresh herbs.

4. What’s your favorite place to get pho and a Jucy Lucy in Minneapolis?

Pho at Quang and a Jucy Lucy at Matt’s Bar.

5. Favorite cookbook?

On Food and Cooking, by Harold McGee.

6. Your drink of choice?

San Pellegrino, or any soda water.

7. Favorite food movie?

The Founder.

8. Your ideal dinner party guests, dead or alive? 

Fergus Henderson, Michel Roux Jr., and Marco Pierre White.

9. What restaurant industry person do you admire the most?

Fergus Henderson and Nancy Silverton. They are all about the food without getting absorbed by foodies and food media.

10. The greatest restaurant experience of your life so far?

Asador Extebarri, Noma, and Fäviken. I went to all of those places on the same trip about 10 years ago. Back then, I was a sponge and I loved how different these places were to anything I knew. Asador Extebarri and Fäviken were different in the experience, and Noma because of their ingredients.

11. Your greatest professional achievement?

Owning my own restaurants without compromising what was important to me, and without kissing one single a**.

12. What single dish best describes your personality?

Everything I cook, I layer with some kind of citrus, some kind of capsicum spice, an herbaceous component, and some kind of garum, fish sauce, or fermented component. Just to name one dish: There’s a crab pasta that I make with reduced carrot juice along with lime, garum, cilantro, and serrano that eats like pad Thai but with an Italian background.

Spaghetti fra diavolo with lobster, roasted fresno, basil, and cumin. Photo courtesy of Martina
Agnolotti with veal, pork, parmesan, and sage. Photo courtesy of Josefina

13. If you could go back in time, which restaurant would you dine at?

Harveys in London 1987, run by chef Marco Pierre White. Growing up in the industry, I was very into all British chefs and restaurants from the late 80’s and 90’s. Harveys had some glamour and punk rock at the same time. I think of it as the Studio 54 of the restaurant world.

14. Your favorite meal from childhood?

Sweetbread ravioli, made by my mom.

15. Your wish for the restaurant industry?

That all the time put into social media is put back into the restaurant’s food and service. That passion for doing this is back in vogue, and that the search for improvement drives us all.

16. What do you wish you did better? What do you do well?

Communication was always something that I’ve struggled with and that I’m conscious of. I work hard very well.

17. If you could eat through a city for a day, where would you go?

Hong Kong.

Turkish eggs with lamb kebab. Photo courtesy of Cardamom
Photo courtesy of Rosalia Pizza

18. The one thing you can’t resist splurging on when you go out?

Pasta. I like to eat it until the upper part of my stomach hurts.

19. What do you value most in restaurants?

Hard work. You can like or dislike this or that restaurant, but EVERYONE works hard.

20. It’s your last meal on earth, what are you eating?

Grilled ribeye topped with French fries, and topped with a fried egg with a side of shaved serranos, cilantro, and a lime.