Chef Mark DeNittis has taken some twists and turns in his career, but his passion for the culinary arts has remained unchanged ever since he was a little boy serving as sous chef in his grandmother’s kitchen nearly 40 years ago.
Since then, DeNittis has pushed the definition of “chef” to its limits, expanding into virtually every area of the foodservices industry: butcher, teacher, business development specialist, culinary concierge, author, even a “lambassador” for the American Lamb Board.
And he’s not nearly done.
DeNittis was raised in Massachusetts, a first-generation Italian whose family embraced farm-to table before it was a movement. New England was their hunting and fishing grounds. The salads on their plates came from garden grown vegetables, field picked wild mushrooms and dandelion greens. DeNittis absorbed it all. Culinary school was the logical career choice. A Johnson & Wales University graduate, he would go on to chair the meat-cutting curriculum at his alma mater and, later, founded the Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat.
“I take opportunities as they come,” DeNittis says. And for this Denver-based master of charcuterie and salumi, the opportunities haven’t stopped coming; from commanding lines in formal kitchens to commanding companies. He’s even made an impact on the battlefield advising on the creation of a butchery survival program for the U.S. Army Special Forces.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘What do you do for work?’ I say, ‘What do you need me to do?’” says DeNittis with a laugh.
Why Mercer Culinary
“There’s a lot of theory behind what we do in my specialized area with charcuterie and salumi. It all starts on an animal. In order to correctly acquire those cuts to turn them into wonderful items requires a solid set of tools one can rely on. Having the right knives and sharpeners helps us achieve that seamlessly.”