Dada in Delray Beach: Q&A with Executive Chef Bruce Feingold Who Shares Ghost Stories and Cooking Tips
Haunted? Do you have any good ghost stories?
Back around when we first opened I was downstairs in the kitchen and I heard footsteps upstairs in the office. At first I thought it was [another employee], so I went up to see, but no one was there -- but, here's the freaky part, there's this little door in the wall. It was wide open, so I went to close it, and I also locked it. I went back downstairs, and a few minutes later I heard footsteps again. I went back up, and -- no kidding -- the door was open again. It happened two more times, so finally, I just said whatever is here wants this door open, so I left it that way.
Crazy. Anything else?
Yeah, it's not too often, but sometimes weird things will happen. The only other thing that really gave me goosebumps was when we were renovating, and we had our dogs in here. They were drawn to this one wall, and would just stare at it and bark. We ended up tearing it down to see if there was a dead animal or something back there, but nothing. Even after we rebuilt it they would just sit, stare, and growl.
So, tell me about the food at Dada. What do you think makes it so iconic, and what do you think has contributed to your success over the years?
I think part of our success is due to the fact that our team is so unified, and it helps to keep a consistency to the level of quality we produce. I'm here every day, all day, cooking in the kitchen with just a few other guys.
How often do you change the menu?
Not as often as I'd like! Whenever we want to change the menu all of us sit down and have a tasting of the new dishes I'd like to try out. It takes a few tries before we finalize, and we'll do that once every season. I would like to be doing that more frequently, but we're so busy it's hard to focus on changing too much. At least once a season we swap out a few dishes.
Tell us about your style of cooking.
I've spent the past 20 years working hard to perfect my craft. I'm trained in classical French, so a lot of my cooking has that base, but the food here is more contemporary American. [Right now Feingold is experimenting with the sous-vide method of cooking, when food -- typically meats -- are slow-cooked in a plastic bag submersed in a water bath].
What are some house favorites?
Our top seller every day of the week and every month since we opened is our Habanero Salmon. We cook it a little bit different. We prep each filet by trimming off the fat and the skin to guarantee it never has that fishy smell or taste. The glaze itself was a twist off a pecan honey glaze I used to make, but I wanted a bit of heat to go against the sweet. A little bit of toasted coriander and molasses helps to give it a bold, balanced flavor. And, believe it or not, my Tahini dressing.
Do you have any tips or suggestions for cooks at home?
Try toasting your herbs and spices before you add the ingredient to whatever dish or sauce you are making. It helps to really brings out the flavors in a whole new way -- it's a bolder, more intense kick. I toast most of the spices I work with [here at Dada], and it helps to impart a unique flavor profile to my cooking.
Do you plan on doing anything outside or in addition to Dada?
You know, I don't know anything else. At heart, I'm also a workaholic, and I love what I do, so I consider myself very lucky that I get to wake up every morning and do this. I can't see myself anywhere else at the moment.
Dada Dada One of Bruce Feingold's signature dishes, Ahi Tuna Tartare.
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