November 9, 2017 – The chef/owners of Basil Seasonal Dining in Carmel have parted ways and well-known Italian chef Andrea Palmieri will take over the locavore kitchen there in January.
“Andrea is a really incredible chef,” says Denis Boaro, who is now sole owner of Basil after buying out partner and Basil’s executive chef Soerke Peters. “Andrea gives cooking classes and has made many TV appearances and runs a family restaurant called BucaVino in Rome.”
Boaro promises that Basil—the Monterey Bay area’s first Green Certified restaurant—will not change too much. “We are going to keep the same locally-sourced California cuisine and continue the great work that Soerke has been doing,” he says.
“But he will be using Italian techniques and there will be some Italian influence, because that’s where he comes from,” Boaro said of the new chef.
BucaVino serves classic Italian dishes like squash blossoms with mozzarella de bufala, pasta alla carbonara and Grandma’s meatballs. “He makes his own pasta and bakes his own bread and makes a wide variety of dishes,” says Boaro, who also owns Gusto in Seaside.
The two met over a year ago, when Palmieri was on vacation in our area and fell in love with Carmel. Boaro traveled to Italy last summer and the two cooked together, discovering they had a real rapport.
“He wanted to relocate his family to the United States so they could have a better life,” says Boaro, adding that chef Andrea will be coming over next week to go over the menu and figure out how “to take it up a notch” and then return on a permanent basis with his family after the first of the year.
Soerke Peters—an award-winning chef and popular presence on the local festival circuit—said it was time to move on and that he wanted to go out on a high note. “I’m really proud of working together with the back of house staff and the front of the house staff over the past five years to make Basil what it is today,” Peters said. “I think we’ve been an outstanding member of the community, especially in the area of sustainability.”
Born in Germany, chef Peters has pioneered the drive for more sustainability in the local restaurant industry and spearheaded Basil’s transformation into the area’s first Green Certified restaurant.
Two months ago he purchased Carmel’s landmark Village Corner with his partner Amy Stouffer (see EMB 9/12/17). He said letting go of Basil will allow him to put a little more time and energy into the new venture, as well as pursuing some new restaurant ideas.
Village Corner is becoming more lively since the dynamic couple took over and chef Peters plans to go through the process needed to make it a Green Certified restaurant like Basil. They’ve already begun the necessary changes by eliminating all plastics and cleaning chemicals and installing LED lighting. He’s moving slowly on making menu changes at the 60-year-old Village Corner, out of respect for customers who have been coming there for decades. But small improvements are starting to appear, like homemade jams, house whipped butter and better quality eggs at breakfast.
Peters also serves as president of the Monterey Bay Chapter of the American Culinary Federation.
Deborah Luhrman is publisher and editor of Edible Monterey Bay. A lifelong journalist, she has reported from around the globe, but now prefers covering our flourishing local food scene and growing her own vegetables in the Santa Cruz Mountains.