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Local chef adds joy to every meal

Local chef adds joy to every meal

Toscana's executive chef Stan Dimond cooks up one of his specialties.

POSTED March 30, 2010 10:57 p.m.
Whether he’s cooking his well-regarded Chicken Basilico or chicken noodle soup, Stan Dimond, the executive chef at Toscana’s Ristorante, always tries to make sure one ingredient goes into every meal — joy.
“There is an energy in a kitchen when it is filled with people who are enjoying what they are doing,” Dimond said. “If you have that, then you will produce something memorable.”
Dimond’s path to the kitchen began in earnest when he was a student at Modesto Junior College. It was there, that Dimond found he could combine his two great interests — plant science and food. “The two really do go hand in hand,” he said.
Dimond went on to graduate from the California Culinary Academy in 1985 and honed his skill in several four and five star restaurants in the Bay Area.
He returned to Modesto and served as the chef in some of the town’s most popular restaurants, including The Sundial. Within a few years he had partnered with entrepreneur Dan Costa in Mallard’s and Mallard’s Food Production. After that he served as the corporate chef for the Tyson food company. He traveled Europe, learning new cuisines and earned his executive chef standing with the Culinary Institute of America.
Dimond said he had a yearning to return to a restaurant kitchen, which eventually led his to Toscana’s, where he has been the executive chef for just under a year. He recently talked with the Journal about his love of food and cooking. The following is an excerpt of that interview:

Q. What do you love about cooking?
A. My favorite part is knowing that the customer is enjoying their meal. The creativity that I get to express in cooking is a real plus, but the most satisfaction I get is knowing that I made our customer happy. Cooking is a part of life and food plays a role in all our special occasions. If you give them something great, then they will remember it for the rest of their lives.

Q. What is one of your first memories of cooking?
A. I can remember as a little boy getting up on a stool and making spaghetti sauce with my grandmother.

Q. What one quality makes for a great meal?
A. I would have to say happiness. Happy cooks make happy food.

Q. What kind of cuisine do you enjoy cooking?
A. Here at Toscana’s, we specialize in California-Italian, which is a cooking I really enjoy for all its flavors and the use of local and seasonal produce.

Q. What one person would you love to cook for?
A. I think it would have to be Julia Childs. I would have loved to talk with her and to have cooked with her. She did a lot more than people can imagine for culinary cooking. She blazed a trail for today’s chefs.

Q. What’s one of your favorite ingredients to work with?
A. I love working with different types of mushrooms, and when I can find it, that perfect watermelon.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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