Lexington, KY – With his first gig as a busboy at the Radisson nearly 30 years ago, Giuseppe’s executive chef Steve Garth knows the meaning of working your way up. Soon enough, he moved to the kitchen – as dishwasher. There, he had access to culinary ingredients and a stovetop, where he would occasionally whip up meals for himself, sometimes sharing with other members of the staff.
“Everyone would ask me where I learned to cook, which threw me off,” Garth said. “I was still so young, in my 20s.”
Essentially, Garth said, he learned how to cook by doing it – keeping a watchful eye on the Food Network didn’t hurt.
Garth met Giuseppe’s owner/chef Steve Olmstead at the (now-defunct) Bristol in Chevy Chase, where the ongoing culinary affair between the two began. They later worked side-by-side at downtown’s Bravo Pitino’s, and when Olmstead decided to partner with Jody DiRamo to open Giuseppe’s, Garth was one of the first people he called.
Under Olmstead and Garth’s direction, along with the help of sous chef Todd Gorrell and the rest of the staff, Giuseppe’s was voted Lexington’s No. 1 Date Restaurant and No. 1 Italian Restaurant in the Lexington Herald-Leader’s 2007 reader’s poll. The restaurant, housed in a cozy and quaint cottage-like edifice on Nicholasville Road (just south of Man-O-War), seats 150 and specializes in Italian cuisine with a “New England bent,” according to Olmstead. Signature items include chicken marsala and piccata, and beef tenderloin with Portobello mushrooms. One of Garth’s favorite specials to make is sea scallops with a balsamic butter and capers, served over risotto.
“I try to cook to perfection, every time,” he said.
When Olmstead and Garth aren’t cooking, they like to eat simply and close to home – it’s Mi Pequena Hacienda for Olmstead, his wife and four kids, and New Circle Thai restaurant Siam for Garth, his wife and 6-year-old daughter.