Dante Gonzales is the chef behind Dante Fried Chicken, an event-driven dining concept that bridges music and art cultures through a truly unique brand of flavor.
In 2001, Dante began the coveted and elusive Dante Fried Chicken parties in his Brooklyn loft. These mashup music, art and dinner parties were a word-of-mouth phenomenon for the better part of the decade. Packed with young colorful crowd, the air hung with exotic kitchen smells while artists by the likes of MIA, Theophilus London, and Santigold had early career performances.
It was through the parties where Dante defined a unique culinary perspective, one that began from his earliest experiences in the kitchen.
In his tough teenage years, Dante went to live with his Grandma Jean, a chef with cooking roots in New Orleans. Jean (and much of New Orleans) was adamant about the differences between New Orleans style dishes and "southern" or "soul food" genres. Creole culture brings together European, African, Latin and American cuisines. This is a contrast to the "Southern" style cuisine that was developed in the South and becomes uniquely American.
Jean brought the creole spirit of amalgamation to cooking in Los Angeles. In the kitchen, she explored the regional flavors of LA by employing a diverse kitchen staff that would teach her their heirloom dishes. These were Mexican, Filipino, Korean, and prominent migrant cultures of southern California. She bridged the inspiration and ingredients from around the world to her fare. This cultural storytelling through food became a driving inspiration for DFC and championing the genre of Transatlantic African Cuisine.
Dante shares that story through his ever-evolving menu. Somewhere between the role of chef and anthropologist, he unearths the origin, meaning, and techniques of his culturally inspired dishes. Curious diners will find traces of New Orleans, traditional American southern, Caribbean, Latin, African, and Asian influences.
And the party went crazy.
In 2010, Dante Fried Chicken introduced Ride or Fry, a series of commercial pop-ups that included an award winning food truck in Los Angeles, a secret fried chicken delivery operation in New York City, and a series of interesting storefronts like a barbershop parking lot and a cafe in an alley of industrial downtown LA.
In 2012, DFC authored the internationally distributed cookbook Ride or Fry: The Dante Fried Chicken Experience published on Sterling Epicure focused on 100 recipes of this unique cuisine.
The success of the Ride or Fry pop-ups, press coverage, cookbook and special events led Dante to open a catering business over the last few years. DFC Foods provides full service catering and event production for corporate events, private fine dining, and creative event concepts for clients including Sonos, Red Bull, and Converse.
On June 28th, 2015, after a 5 year hiatus, Dante will relaunch the Dante Fried Chicken Party in Los Angeles. And the hood won't ever be the same again.