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Chef speak
Dominic Zumpano/Executive Chef, Umami Moto

By CARI TAYLOR-CARLSON

 

Umami Moto’s Dominic Zumpano has cooked for the stars. While working at Elements at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort in Arizona, he was the personal chef to actor Will Smith during the filming of "I am Legend." Zumpano also created culinary masterpieces for Jennifer Garner and Jamie Foxx while the duo filmed "The Kingdom," and at retired hockey star Wayne Gretzky’s house in Arizona.

Zumpano was invited to cook at the James Beard House in May 2009, where a sold-out house enjoyed his French Asian fusion cuisine, paired with Vérité wine. Iron chef judge Akiko Katayama declared his meal the best of the six James Beard dinners she had attended.

Ironically, the Chicago-native dined on junk food as a kid and remains a pizza fan. His culinary career starting at 17 in a now-defunct Windy City restaurant. While there, he moved up the ranks from waiter to sous chef in four years. Zumpano later cooked at the classy Rose Garden Restaurant in Bar Harbor, Maine. He was first in his class at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute and was the sous chef of Iron Chef Beau MacMillan at the Sanctuary. He was working there when restaurateur Omar Shaikh lured him to Milwaukee to become executive chef at Umami Moto on Milwaukee Street in 2008.

The exquisite ambiance at Umami Moto is equaled by the menu, using Zumpano’s formal French training techniques combined with his love of Asian cuisine. His delicious signature dish, lobster chowder, is not for the calorie counters.

Miso Marinated Sea Bass

(Serves four)

4 sea bass portions
Miso Marinate
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup soy
˝ cup miso

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Marinate bass for six hours. Drain and pan sear in olive oil. Finish in a 350-degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until flaky.

Celery Root and Turnip Puree

1 pound celery root, peeled and chopped
1 pound turnips, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
salt and pepper to taste
whole milk (enough to cover the vegetables)

Cover the celery root and turnips with milk and simmer until tender. Place the celery root and turnips in a food processor and puree until smooth. Add butter and cheese, and season with salt and pepper.