By Isaiah Negron
From the age of 16, Carmine Di Giovanni dreamed of becoming a chef. He cultivated his love for the culinary arts and honed his cooking skills in the kitchen of a neighborhood restaurant in Staten Island, peeling carrots and prepping dishes. After graduating from the New York Restaurant School at age 20, Carmine developed his own signature style techniques that landed him in some of New York City’s top kitchens. He became the Chef de Cuisine at Picholine and the Executive Chef at David Burke Townhouse. Di Giovanni is now the Executive Chef and a partner of Greenwich Project on West 8th Street. “I cook what I like to serve, not necessarily what I want to eat,” laughs Carmine. “I like mixing different tastes together.” He works with hospitality entrepreneur Nick Boccio who opened Mulberry Project four years ago, creating a speakeasy-style cocktail retreat in New York City’s Little Italy after transitioning out of the trenches of Wall Street where he worked at Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. Boccio also worked with Bergdorf Goodman, B.R. Guest and 13th Street Entertainment. In April 2013, Boccio opened Greenwich Project with a new American menu created by Di Giovanni. greenwichprojectnyc.com
Chef Carmine’s critically acclaimed skills have landed him on Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations,” “Chopped,” “Best Thing I Ever Ate,” and “Chef Wanted.” Carmine confessed, “It’s fun, especially in a competitive setting with a fire behind you,” he says. “I want to go on ‘Iron Chef’, it’s the Holy Grail of the cooking shows.” Many of Carmine’s unique creations have become famous in culinary circles. His favorite dish “The Odd Couple,” a delicious combination of sautéed snails, sweetbreads and garlic “foam” was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival where “Very Good Girls” stars Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen raved about his lunch. His hamachi crudo with sesame bon bon and citrus soy was recently voted the “People’s Favorite Dish” at “Taste of Lower East Side,” an annual foodie event held in April.
When Greenwich Project debuted their new brunch menu, Chef Carmine put a twist on the traditional lox and bagel, devising a pastrami-cured salmon with “broken” bagel bites, cream cheese powder and mustard seed relish. Innovative dishes like this have garnered him praise from The New York Times Taste of T and at the New York Food and Wine Festival, as well as the opportunity to be the Executive Chef of the New York Luxury Review 2013, an exclusive press showcase and shopping experience displaying the latest in luxury products and services.
Between his passion for cooking and love for playing with different flavors and textures Chef Carmine is one of the city’s elite chefs. With his eyes on a Michelin Star for Greenwich Project in 2014, Carmine concluded, “My parents told me if you find something you love to do, you’ll never work a day in your life and I haven’t worked a day yet.”