August 6 2018 - 9:00am

Local heroes: Dine with Daniele

Local heroes: Dine with Daniele

Instagram star Daniele Foti-Cuzzola brings Italian charm and food to Perth!

King of gnocchi and pizza, @dinewithdaniele has grown his following with a love for food, traveling and cooking. 

Lucky for us, he's teaching some amazing workshops this winter, so learn everything from cannoli to pasta with a real Sicilian!

We got a chance to chat with him and ask the pressing questions about Perth, food, and pineapple! Check out his answers below:

What’s your secret to success? 

Dine with Daniele initially started out as a creative outlet. I was working as a social reporter, which I loved but I was really craving an opportunity to write about my other passions – food and cultural content. I decided to create my own platform as a hobby, and then I was really overwhelmed with the responses I was receiving and the feedback from people literally around the world, who would send me encouraging messages about how they were so glad I shared a certain recipe that reminded them of their childhood and how they were inspired by my passion for my heritage. I definitely believe in ‘faking it till you make it’ and ‘giving It all a go’. I am also very transparent with my audience and am not afraid to laugh at myself – I think it’s important to keep it real and be relatable. Passion and authenticity speaks volumes, and now that I’m running my own cooking workshops is a nice bonus. It’s a great opportunity to meet people who have been so supportive and put a face to their names. 

What’s one thing you’d like to change about Perth’s food scene? 

The Perth food scene has grown leaps and bounds in the past five years alone, but one thing I would change would be opening hours. I don’t like eating early – maybe it’s a European thing, but I don’t want to eat dinner before I see a movie, or go to the Opera or a concert. I wish there were more quality restaurants that kept their kitchens open later. 

Editor's note: check out these new spots that are open late!

Pineapple on pizza? 

Absolutely no! I’ve tried it and it’s not horrible but it’s not a preferred pizza topping. I like to keep it pretty traditional. I’m also not a fan of chicken and lamb on a pizza. I’m pretty old school. 

Tell us your favourite foodie Instagram accounts / Facebook pages /blogs? 

I always keep a mental list of all the places I want to go and try, and then when it comes to organising a catch up, I can’t remember. So Breakfast in Perth is really handy for that. With my line of work breakfast is a more convenient time to catch up with friends, and I always find some hidden gems on there. In terms of foodie inspiration I love, Italy on My Mind by Paoloa Bacchia, she takes such beautiful photos and I’ve tried a few of her recipes and they are delightful. I also love Emiko Davies work, she’s a Florence-based Australian-Japanese blogger. I love the combination of food and travel photos. 

What food trend do you predict will take over soon? 

Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I really hope l’apertivio really takes off here in Perth. One of the things I miss most about Italy, is being able to go to a bar for a drink and getting a plate of Italian snacks to graze on while you drink – before you head out to dinner! Everybody talks about how great it is in Italy, so I’m hanging out for people to make it happen over here. I think we have the market for it. 

What’s your guilty pleasure? 

I believe everything is good in moderation, so I don’t really rule anything out and then binge on it, but if we are talking ‘sometimes foods’, I’m a real Nutella and gelato addict. Another thing that always surprises people is that I really love fried pickles, so if I’m going out for a burger and that’s on the menu then I’m definitely committing to a side of them. 

Is there a restaurant that has closed that you miss?

I used to really love Barolo on Beaufort Street, that was a family staple. The interior was also beautiful and they had this stunning vintage Campari mural on the wall, so it killed me when the new owners painted over that. Growing up there used to be a lot of great Italian gelatarias in Northbridge and Fremantle, that had a strong nostalgia attached to, so it’s sad that they aren’t around anymore. But it is exciting to see a new wave of gelatarias popping up that are doing amazing things.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve eaten lately? 

Well seeing as it’s winter, my family have just finished making our annual batch of sausages. We are pretty traditional and make a whole range of dishes that would probably be off putting for some. One of my favourites is gelatina, which is like a vinegar infused jelly with meat. I don’t think that explanation does it justice, it sounds awful but I love it. I don’t do crazy doughnut/ burger / milkshake combinations if that’s what you’d define as crazy, but if you’re referring to liver patte and tripe – then yes I’ve eaten that recently. That’s as crazy as I get. 

What city that you’ve visited has the best food? 

Oh that’s difficult. I mean it all depends on taste and preference of cuisine, but I do really love the food culture in Melbourne. I love going to the Queen Victoria Markets, and seeing the huge crowds of people and how everyone is so excited about their produce. The restaurant scene is great. I do eat a lot of Italian even when I’m out, and there are so many great pizzerias, pasticerias and bars, and I love how there are so many cultural districts. There’s obviously a strong Italian presence in Carlton, I do love a visit to china town and then the whole Greek precinct in the city. It creates a nice atmosphere. Same with New York, I love how you can go to little Italy, and then china town and little Korea. It extends beyond the food and having these little pockets of different cultures creates a real atmosphere. Plus the fine dining scene is pretty great over there too. I also remember really enjoying Bordeaux and Barcelona and in terms of Italy, I don’t even know where to start. Sicily obviously has my heart, but I also ate so well in Sorrento; Bologna is also pretty special and Milan is obviously more international so there’s nice variety up there. It’s a bit more eclectic. I could write a never ending list. Very few places I’ve travelled to have disappointed me. 

What is special about the food in Perth? 

It’s a very exciting time in the Perth food scene, we have a lot of innovative restaurateurs, who are not afraid to shake things up and also to collaborate with other establishments. I love going to places that have a real atmosphere and create an experience. One thing I look forward to every winter is the Tre Amici – which is like a progressive dinner throughout Northbridge’s Little Italy, starting from No Mafia and then to Francoforte and Chicho Gelato. It’s great to see venues work together like that. I love seeing people be willing to collaborate. I also love that there is a strong emphasis on creating authentic dishes and using local produce and seasonal menus. I don’t believe in year round menus, food should be eaten when it’s in season. That’s when it tastes best. Mother Nature made it that way for a reason. 

Emily Boney

If you can eat or drink it, Emily is all over it. She is especially passionate about locally sourced food, Perth tourism, and sustainable consumption. Get in touch with Emily if you'd like to write for OZeating!