Usually over a 3-day holiday weekend readership is not as robust as normal, so I decided not to run a Spotlight interview last week as I wanted to give the interviewee their due time in the spotlight. We resume this week with David Hagan, Executive Chef at City Cellar Wine Bar & Grill at City Place in West Palm Beach. Back in March I had dinner at City Cellar and I wholeheartedly agree with David as to why the braised lamb shank is a favorite item on his menu. David has a dominant New York/Florida influence in his life; born in New York, grew up in Florida, back to New York for culinary school and now back again to Florida working with South Florida’s Big Time Restaurant Group. City Cellar is physically a large restaurant with over 200 seats and with that comes a lot of responsibility for Hagen, one he readily accepts making it look so easy. This young chef is well grounded and has a great disposition making his big job with Big Time, big fun. I present this week’s Chef in the Spotlight, David Hagan.
South Florida Food and Wine: Where do you get your culinary inspiration?
David Hagan: I get my culinary inspiration from previous experience, conversations with friends, industry publications, and dining experiences.
South Florida Food and Wine: When did you realize that cooking was your passion?
David Hagan: I realized that cooking is my passion when I took a part time job at a restaurant when I was in college. I started as a dish washer, and by the end of my first week I was cooking on the line. My time at that job inspired me to change my major to hospitality and eventually attend culinary school.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your favorite item on your menu?
David Hagan: My favorite item on the menu is the braised lamb shank. It is incredibly simple, but so good.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your favorite dish to make at home?
David Hagan: My favorite dish to make at home is a nice rib eye on the grill with some grilled vegetables and an arugula salad
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your last day on earth, what would your final meal be?
David Hagan: My final meal would be a pizza from Gimaldi’s in Brooklyn, NY.
South Florida Food and Wine: Who is the one person you would love to cook with and why?
David Hagan: I would love to cook with Daniel Boulud, because he is extremely knowledgeable and an incredible teacher.
South Florida Food and Wine: What is your one guilty pleasure food?
David Hagan: My one guilty pleasure with food is Buffalo wings.
South Florida Food and Wine: What was the last restaurant you ate at?
David Hagan: The last restaurant that I ate at was Cafe Chardonnay in Palm Beach Gardens.
South Florida Food and Wine: Who would you most like to cook for? And why?
David Hagan: I would most like to cook for Robert DiNero, because he is a passionate restaurateur, and would make for some great dinner conversation.
South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your day off, what do you do for fun?
David Hagan: Invite some friends over. Pick up some beer and food for the grill, and watch a good football game.
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City Cellar Wine Bar and Grill
700 South Rosemary Avenue
West Palm Beach, Fl 33401