Daniele Puleo: Not Born in Texas, But He Got Here as Soon as He Could

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Yesterday, we gave you the goods on Daniele Puleo, executive chef at and owner of Daniele Osteria and Brix Pizza and Wine Bar. Today, we asked Puleo to finish a few sentences for us. Tomorrow, he shares one of his yummy recipes.

(Puleo's words are after the ellipses.)

My friends say I'm...a cool guy, very laid back, very happy.

I define myself as...an American. A proud American as of last October 29th.

My momma told me...to be a gentleman and how to make caponata.

If I had 24 hours to live I'd...plan my funeral. Or I would call every single person I've done wrong to and call my parents and tell them how much I love them and my kids. And then die in the arms of my beloved one.

My guilty pleasure is...Texas barbecue. Dickey's Barbecue. That's my thing. And apple pie. And I use the Jack Daniels BBQ sauce every time I BBQ at home.

My true pleasure is...to cook for my parents. I don't really get to because my mom is a fabulous cook. My mom really enjoys cooking. (His fiancée, Christina Newton, adds, "I don't cook. When he's with his mom, it's the only time someone cooks for him. You eat my food just to get the job done.")

I cook therefore...I live. Cooking is my life.

If I could be anywhere, I'd be...here. Texas. I really love Texas. I am really where I want to be.

Never again will I...get food at the drive-through at Jack in the Box. I got sick. And never again will I be underpaid and overworked.

Cat or dog...Dog. By far. Mine is a golden retriever. A girl named Asia. She's actually a basset retriever. Half basset. Half golden. She's my little girl. I cook for her. (Newton adds, "We adopted her from Operation Kindness. She's a total golden but low to the ground. Six inches tall and really long.")

No one would ever believe that I...made it this far when I came to this country with nothing. Just me and my suitcase in November of 1989. I ate potato chips everyday and slept on a mattress. Now I'm an American citizen, and I own three restaurants.

The CD I couldn't do without is...the Bee Gees. I cant live without the Bee Gees. No way.

I relax by...watching TV in the afternoon. Cheers and Seinfeld. And cooking at home. Mostly Italian food. The good thing is I cook something different all time.

If it weren't for cooking, I would be...an architect. That was easy. But that was my first dream to be an architect and that got beaten by a love for the kitchen. I like to build stuff. Men always like to leave something behind. That's from a movie. (He laughs.)

The Dallas dining scene is...weird. Number 1: demanding. Number 2: fickle. Number 3: unfaithful.

Dallas diners expect...entertainment. They want the owner to be there all the time. If you're not around, they call you on the cell phone. But when the restaurant is empty, I'm not allowed to call them! (He laughs.)

Food should always be...tasty. Original. Pretty. Comforting. Sexy. It's the way you combine the ingredients to make it sexy.

And food should never be...unhealthy. Full of fat. Poor quality.

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