Interview with Chef David Dworshak of Takito Kitchen in Wicker Park, Chicago

Takito_Chef David Dworshak Headshot 2

Executive Chef/Partner David Dworshak isn’t new to Latin cuisine. He cooked at Carnivale in Chicago for 8 years;
as Executive Chef for six of those. After having finely honed his craft, Chef David decided to downscale from the massive operation at Carnivale to a more intimate setting, and Takito Kitchen opened its doors in March 20th of 2013.

Recently I sat down with Chef Dworshak to discuss the concept of Takito Kitchen, and what sets his menu apart
from other taquerias in the area. Here are his thoughts.

Q. Describe your cooking style in three words.
A. Local, adventurous, and chignon!

Q. Who are your culinary influences?
A. Mark Mendez, who was my mentor for ten years, and Shawn McClain

Q. Where did the name Takito come from?
A. Takito Kitchen’s name is a phonetic variant of “taquito”. Partner/owner Mario Ponce said he thought it would be fun to spell it as it sounds.

Q. Is there a process you go through to come up with new recipes?
A. Start with seasonal produce, and traditional recipes and then go from there. Sometimes I take traditional recipes and do a spin on those as well.

Q. You are a big fan of what you call “the magic bite”, where you experience all the different flavors and textures of a dish all at once. What is the one dish at Takito Kitchen that represents your most magical bite?
A. New Roasted Winter Squash with Three Sisters Polenta
CC. (A Cook’s Canvas) Agreed. And YUM!

Q. Name three dish at Takito Kitchen a new diner shouldn’t miss.
A. Bass Ceviche, Lamb Chorizo taco, and Fish Taco.

Q. What are your most and least favorite ingredients to work with?
A. Most: Chilies, Peppers, and Black Garlic.
Least: Caraway seeds strong Anise flavors. I believe Anise has it’s place in some recipes.

Q. Briefly describe what a typical day is like for you at the restaurant.
A. It starts with prepping for lunch/brunch. Then a staff lunch and shortly after a line setup for lunch and brunch. Next prepping for dinner and have a staff dinner before the crowd. Close down, order quality ingredients and products and repeat the next day.

Q. Besides Takito Kitchen what restaurants do you like to eat at in Chicago?
A. Small Bar, Cemitas Puebla, and Spoon Thai Eatery

Q. What excites you most about the Chicago food scene?
A. The dynamic world of food culture that is present, along with the high quality food products available here.

Q. What do you cook for dinner at home?
A. Something light and healthy. Perhaps a bowl of noodles.

Q. Do you have a guilty pleasure; something you eat when nobody is looking?
A. Dark chocolate

Q. There are many home cooks out there like myself who are not beginners but haven’t yet reached the professional level; so I’m wondering what advice you would give us to take our cooking to the next level?
A. The home chef has an advantage over professionals; they have the time to practice a recipe over and over until it’s perfect. Cook it over and over as many times as it takes until you have a perfect dish, then throw dinner parties. Also, be wary of some cooking shows, they can be misleading. I can highly recommend watching The Mind Of A Chef. This season it is hosted by Sean Brock and April Bloomfield.

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