Jeff Fitzgerald, Executive Chef at Dio Deka.
Former sous chef Jeff Fitzgerald is taking over as the new executive chef of Michelin-rated Hellenic restaurant, Dio Deka in Los Gatos.
“I’m excited and ready for it,” Fitzgerald says. “I’ve been here for quite some time and I’ve helped run the restaurant before.”
As executive chef, Fitzgerald says he plans on revamping the menu by utilizing new products and techniques, with a focus on local, in-season produce.
“A good portion of the menu has always been the same—with Greek favorites and classics, like the meatballs,” he says. “Now, it’s more about cycling things in and out with the seasons.”
One of the new dishes on the menu is a risotto that incorporates new vegetables, such as spring radishes and pea shoots. Dungeness crabs, Alaskan Halibut and King Salmon are some of the main proteins Fitzgerald plans on using for dishes.
A San Jose native, Fitzgerald grew up eating fresh produce from the family garden and fresh fish caught from boat trips in Moss Landing.
“It really taught me to have a great appreciation for vegetables, like zucchini in the summer time,” he says. “It really teaches you to appreciate what’s at its peak [in season] and to use the ingredients to the fullest.”
Appreciating and incorporating fresh ingredients is something Fitzgerald continues to do at Dio Deka, where he receives local produce from farms in Watsonville, San Francisco and Morgan Hill.
“We work with our purveyors and when they get a new great product, I try to utilize it in some way,” he says. “Dungeness crab is one of them; the dish will last until early summer. Halibut is another one. We’re just waiting for the season to start.”
Although the signature dishes, such as the moussaka, will stay the same, half of the menu will be updated with Fitzgerald’s new creations.
Though he considers former executive chef Marty Cattaneo a mentor, Fitzgerald says he’s looking forward to putting his own spin on things, yet still embracing Californian Greek cuisine.
“I think the restaurant is moving forward in a way that respects Greek traditions, Greek food and techniques with a more modern view and a California perspective,” he says.
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