Meet David Dadekian, photographer, writer, private chef and food instructor living in Rhode Island. As you can understand from his many titles, David is a very versatile professional. As a photographer, he’s captured weddings, portraits, commercial work and fine art. As a writer, he’s a contributor to many publications, such as Edible Rhody, and the founder and editor of Eat Drink RI, a site that shares information about Rhode Island’s vibrant and diverse food scene. As a food and wine lover, he’s a board officer for Slow Food RI and certainly one of the region’s best food ambassadors. Here’s Providence, in his own words.
My Edible City
Providence, Rhode Island. I debated which city I should pick as my Edible City. My life revolves around Eat Drink RI so of course it’s expected of me to talk about Providence, but my heart really leans southward. I learned to cook in the south and it’s the one type of cuisine that I think of as distinctly American. However, when it came time for me to move in 2003 I narrowed down my choice to New Orleans or outside Providence and here I am now completely in love with and constantly promoting the Rhode Island food community, so my internal debate has already been solved. My Edible City is Providence (and pretty much all of Rhode Island because we’re such a small state).
That size has proven to be a huge benefit as locally produced foods have flourished because of it. Our growing season may not be the longest here, but Rhode Island farms raise just about every major fruit and vegetable short of citrus and tropical fruit. There’s all kinds of meats raised here too, and let’s not forget the fantastic aquaculture that has developed in the Ocean State. The restaurants here rival the best in the country and with Johnson & Wales University, one of the top culinary schools in the nation, based in Providence, the bar keeps getting raised higher here. Speaking of the bar (that was a tremendously convenient segue) the cocktail culture here has been on the rise as well.
My Favorite Dish
Steak Tartare. I try to spread the love as much as possible between all the truly stellar restaurants and chefs in the area. So it’s nearly impossible, and probably suicidal, for me to pick one place as my favorite. But if I could only eat one meal and then that was it, I think I would go with the Steak Tartare at Tini in Providence. People will say, well that’s because it’s Blackbird Farm beef and I work there, but I choose to work there because the beef is so damn perfect, and even though I can make anything I want with Blackbird Farm beef almost any time (the stuff sells out constantly) no one makes a dish with Blackbird Farm beef as good as Chef Salko’s Steak Tartare. It’s not an elaborate dish, heck it’s basically one component (plus toast) but for me it’s just about perfection. Runner-up: North’s country ham with charred miso mayo and toast. Also simple perfection. If the restaurant didn’t just open last week it might be my favorite.
- Learn all about Rhode Island’s culinary scene on David’s site, Eat Drink RI
- More about food in Rhode Island through the following sources: Edible Rhody and Slow Food Rhode Island
- Find out what’s in season in RI and discover the state’s best farmers’ markets on FarmFresh.org
- Learn more about Rhode Island, the smallest state in the US, and plan exciting, activity-packed stays in Providence and Newport
- Read about my trip to Providence, during which I enjoyed an exciting string of finger-licking good pork dishes
Photo Credits: All pictures by David Dadekian.