Salvadoran Chef Brings Italian Cuisine Expertise to Hauppauge

Chef Moris Valle doesn’t just bring an eye for authenticity to the new Italian restaurant Cassano Ristorante Italiano, which opened in Hauppauge in March. He also adds a deep sense of appreciation for the culinary arts. Born and raised in Santa Ana, El Salvador, Valle began cooking with his mother in his childhood home. He then went on to finish his intermediate studies before moving to the United States where he graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE).

Even though he’s inspired by his Salvadoran roots, Valle specializes in Italian cuisine. He has held the role of executive chef at many Italian restaurants on Long Island, including La Ginestra in Glen Cove and Angelina’s II in Syosset.

In between dishes, Valle stepped out of the kitchen to answer questions on Cassano Ristorante Italiano’s new menu, how language has helped shape his style throughout his career and motivational wisdom for aspiring chefs.

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How would you describe the cuisine and menu at the restaurant?
The menu is authentic Italian based on a region of Italy called Apulia. I assure we’re using genuine products imported from Italy. I check every day that the local products are of the freshest and best quality–thus guaranteeing a high-quality menu of Italian cuisine where the client feels transported to somewhere in Italy.

When you dine at a restaurant for the first time, what are you looking for in particular in the food?
The authenticity of the dish and then the menu offering. I, like you, appreciate when they use fresh products, good presentation and portions of normal terms.

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Lobster and shrimp croquettes. Chef Valle also creates daily specials. The restaurant just launched a new appetizer special: Dill-ranch dressing with garlic toast, tomato, avocado and crabmeat.

How has being diverse in language helped shape your style as a chef?
It encouraged me to explore and learn about different cuisines to create my own style. It has helped to make my culinary experience more diverse.

A lot of your dishes are inspired by your roots in El Salvador. How much crossover is there with Salvadoran cuisine and Italian cuisine?
Salvadoran cuisine is different. It doesn’t crossover with Italian cuisine, but despite being different, I’ve mixed some recipes, and the results have been very successful. 

Who has inspired you throughout your career?
I’m inspired by my passion for the culinary arts. I make each dish a work of art by putting a part of my soul in each one. “Cook with love and your food tastes better” is my slogan.

What advice would you give aspiring chefs?
Follow your instincts, do a good job and set your own goals.

Cassano Ristorante Italiano is located at 352 Wheeler Rd.