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edible ENDEAVOR

Q&A with Daniel Olivella by ADAM BOLES photography by MELANIE GRIZZEL

W

hen Daniel Olivella came to the United States in 1979 at the age of 18, he had stars in his eyes — though not the kind you might expect. He was going to be

a famous jazz saxophonist, and his uncle Paco was going to help by giving him a job at his Continental restaurant in Chicago while Daniel pursued his dream. “My career as a musician was spent in kitchens and bartending,” the now-seasoned chef and recent cookbook author tells me on a sunny afternoon at Barlata, his South Lamar tapas restaurant and bar. “I knew from the beginning I liked cooking. I had a feeling in my hands and in my palate for food. I was lucky — in my mid-20s, I found out that I was a better cook than a musician.” Back in those days, aside from Julia Child on PBS and a few others, the idea of a “celebrity chef ” was unthinkable. Chefs stayed in the kitchen, sweating it out on the line night after night while their guests were safely ensconced in the dining room. “When I was a kid, we went out once a year, on my mother’s birthday or something,” Olivella says. “And when we went out, we didn’t meet the chef. We met the maître d’, the guy with the bow tie.

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Edible Austin July/Aug 2019  

Dive into our summer issue, full of watermelon recipes, Catalan food and tips on reducing your rubbish!

Edible Austin July/Aug 2019  

Dive into our summer issue, full of watermelon recipes, Catalan food and tips on reducing your rubbish!

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