In 2000, Dave took a leap of faith and became his own boss, opening Sweet Basil in Needham, Massachusetts.
Still having the incessant curiosity of a kid, Dave is constantly experimenting in the kitchen both with food and the newest culinary gadgets. From making his own pastas (Beet Rigatoni and Rye Bread Gnocchi to name a few) to distilling vinegars in-house (born of DaveÍs desire to make use of all the fruits and vegetables Sweet Basil receives, even those that have turned), or brewing his own Kombucha, Dave has fun with food and is passionate about learning as much as he can about the craft.
DaveÍs artistic eye appears not only in the presentation of his cuisine, but also in the unique plates and serving dishes used at Sweet Basil, all of which are hand-thrown with local clay and designed by Dave at Brookline pottery studio, Feet of Clay. Dave believes that knowing the potter who creates a restaurantÍs artisanal plates will soon become just as important as the farmer sourcing a restaurantÍs grass-fed beef, with equal emphasis on local materials and minimal transportation, a trend he has coined the ñart-to-tableî movement.
Ever the artiste, Dave has taken his passion to the page, self-publishing two cookbooks with food photographer Nina Gallant. Released in 2008, Thrown Out Of An Italian Kitchen, Recipes from Sweet Basil provides a snapshot of the experience of dining and working at the Italian-inspired eatery. His sophomore effort, Stewed (January 2013), is a collection of irreverent, handmade takes on classic soups, braises and stews from Sweet Basil.
In 2014, Dave opened Juniper, a 110-seat Mediterranean eatery in the heart of Wellesley, Massachusetts. Juniper is an extension of DaveÍs overall philosophies on work, food and life. With a spirited staff, most of whom ñgrew upî under DaveÍs mentorship at Sweet Basil, JuniperÍs menu pulls inspiration from what Dave calls the ñfeel good flavorsî of the Eastern Mediterranean and continues his strong focus on all things local, sustainable and handmade. At Juniper, housemade cous cous, homemade phyllo dough and unique flavor combinations signature to DaveÍs generously portioned cooking style stand out on the restaurantÍs seasonally changing menu, while dim lighting, lush greenery and colorful flea market finds transport guests to a funky Eastern Mediterranean bistro.