Dewey LoSasso, Executive Chef of The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar, is one of the nation’s most prolific apostles of Progressive American cuisine. With a culinary ethos that respects the past yet challenges the future, LoSasso was the natural choice to help spearhead The Forge’s rebirth.
Growing up in southern New Jersey, LoSasso was born into an Italian family where his culinary skills and an appreciation of local ingredients were encouraged from a young age. LoSasso remembers his mother hand-selecting lush Jersey tomatoes for her ripe tomato salad – a family favorite that LoSasso ate with crusty Italian bread, sopping up the juices. Parties of 30 were commonplace in the household – where there were two kitchens -- and LoSasso, as an ambitious seven-year-old, flipped handmade pizzas in the restaurant-quality kitchen his father installed in the basement. It was at age 13 that LoSasso realized his passion for cooking when, as a dishwasher at a local Italian restaurant, he began taking home his daily duty of peeling two quarts of garlic in order to have more time to absorb the culture of the kitchen. He proceeded to work in the kitchen at five additional restaurants prior to graduating from high school.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, LoSasso honed his culinary skills at Sign of the Dove, one of New York City’s most acclaimed restaurants of the late 1970s. In the early 1980s he moved to South Florida and worked with legendary restaurants such as LaTour, The Pavillion Grill and the Foundlings Club, an exclusive private membership club in Miami Beach. Here, under the wing of philanthropist/art collector Micky Wolfson, LoSasso began attracting notice for his creative, original cuisine, which he dubbed Florida Progressive.
With Wolfson, LoSasso traveled extensively through Europe and beyond, conducting restaurant research, visiting vineyards and spending time in kitchens around the world. Inspired from his worldly ventures, LoSasso turned the Foundlings Club kitchen into a culinary laboratory, crafting cutting-edge cuisine born of global influences with an emphasis on natural ingredients, including the organic vegetables he grew on a small farm he shared with Wolfson. During his tenure as executive chef/beverage director, LoSasso’s innovative cuisine garnered many awards and put the club on the map as one of the best dining experiences in South Florida.
After a turn as Donatella Versace’s personal chef and food event coordinator, as well as executive chef for the Lipton Tennis Tournament (now the Sony Ericsson Open), LoSasso worked for China Grill Management where he served as executive and concept chef for Tuscan Steak in Miami. He later was relocated to New York to open additional restaurants and serve as executive chef at New York’s 950-room Hudson Hotel. Spending three years in New York, LoSasso decided to re-enter the Miami market and in May 2004, he opened North One 10 to critical acclaim and numerous awards.
With more than five years on Miami’s trendy Biscayne Corridor, LoSasso felt it was time to seek new opportunities and came across The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar’s global search for a new executive chef, for which 172 candidates applied. Owner Shareef Malnik held rounds of tastings at his home, where he challenged eight national finalists to showcase their strongest dishes. LoSasso, with his bold, clean flavors and modern approach to American cuisine, impressed Malnik and ultimately was chosen as The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar’s new executive chef.
Upon his appointment, LoSasso embarked on a 16-week process of creating The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar’s new menu, with an emphasis on farm-to-table and ocean-to-table ingredients. LoSasso studied The Forge’s menus from the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, and pays homage to some of the classic dishes, with modern interpretations.
“I like to pay attention to the way people eat,” says LoSasso. “It reflects not only individual palates, but current cultures, both culinary and social. The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar is unique in that it embraces tastes of a global community with a menu that pays respect to The Forge’s past, but takes rebel risks.”
LoSasso’s awards and accolades include:
MIAMI Magazinehonors The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar on the cover of their annual Restaurant Issue - 2011
Eater“38 Essential Miami Restaurants in 2011” – 2011
Guest Judge, S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Contest – 2011
Florida Trendmagazine “Golden Spoon Award” – 2010
MIAMI MagazineRestaurant Review: Excellent/Among the area’s best rating (4 stars) – 2010
Guest Chef James Beard House, New York – 2010
Zagathighlights Dewey LoSasso as a “veteran Miami chef” in The Forge’s opening piece – 2010
Esquireraves about new Forge & names it “A Restaurant Men Should Know About” and “11 restaurants you don’t want to miss” – 2010
The Miami HeraldRestaurant Review: Excellent rating (3 ½ stars) – 2010
MiamiNew Times’Best of Miami: Best Chef – 2010
Food Arts / Sterling Silver “Emerging Taste Maker Award” – 2007
“Excellent” ratings fromThe Miami HeraldandSouth Florida Sun Sentinel– 2007, 2004
MiamiNew Times“Best Restaurant North Dade” – 2006
Nation’s Restaurant News – “Featured Dish” section – 2006, 2004, 2000
Ocean DriveMagazine“Great Chefs” – 2005, 1998
Chaine de Rotessieurs Dinner – 1986 - 1996. Awarded#2 spot in South Florida 2004, 1997
Fox National TV Segment – “Memorial Day Cook Out” with Shepard Smith – 2002
The WB TV segment “Summer Cook Out” – 2002
Time Out MagazineAward – “Most Ingenious Presentation of Steak” –July 2002
Featured Article Restaurant andInstitutions Magazine– 2000
Guest Chef Central Coast Wine Classic, Jacques Pepin Dinner at Hearst Castle, Avilla Beach, California – July 1997
Guest Chef Justin Winery, Paso Robles California – July 1997
Guest Chef Mitchelton Winery, Melbourne, Australia – July 1996
South Florida Magazine, “Hot New Chef” cover feature – 1995
Guest Chef Hotel Astor, Nervi, Italy – 1992
Guest Chef Gran Gotto Restaurant, Genova, Italy – 1991
Dewey LoSasso and his wife Dale LoSasso live in Miami Shores, FL with their daughters, Zoe Sage, 11, and Siena Hope, 8.
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