Raised in an Italian-American home in the Boston suburb of Belmont, chef Dante de Magistris has always loved to cook. At the age of four, he created an inferno in his parents’ kitchen cooking stovetop eggs in Tupperware. Today, he oversees a culinary paradiso at dante, his eponymous restaurant at the Royal Sonesta Cambridge Hotel where he “has found his voice and now fully expresses it in imaginative dishes.” (Boston Magazine)
What happened between point A and point B? Plenty of travel, and of course, plenty of cooking. By his early 20s, de Magistris knew it was time to get serious. He traveled to Italy for a year-long sojourn that not only helped to hone his skills, but changed the lives of those he met along the way. After successful stints at restaurants in Bologna and Florence, he made his way to the Amalfi Coast, where he worked as Sous Chef at the two-star Ristorante Don Alfonso in Sant’Agata sui due Golfi, a restaurant known for its fresh ingredients and subtle elegance. The chefs, heading off on a trip to France, left de Magistris in charge. While they were away, Michelin came to visit. The young “understudy” helped the restaurant win its third star, and won rave reviews of his own.
de Magistris returned to Boston triumphant. The city’s finest chefs were delighted to have him at their sides. And after working alongside Michael Schlow at Café Louis, Eric Brennan at The Federalist, and Lydia Shire, Susan Regis and Daniele Baliani at Pignoli, he made Michaela Larson’s blu in The Sports Club/LA in Boston’s Ladder District a major destination for discerning diners.
Now, at dante, de Magistris is on his own, creating dishes that combine ingredients in unique ways, and delighting locals and travelers alike with his fresh, modern approach to traditional Italian cuisine. He’s also got his two brothers by his side, making it a true family business (brother Damian manages the front of the house, while Filippo manages the wine program).
Showing no signs of slowing down, de Magistris opened his second restaurant, Il Casale, back in his hometown of Belmont in 2009 and then its sister restaurant in Lexington in 2014. Luckily for him and his neighbors, he’s not setting fire to Tupperware much these days.