Q&A: Carl Dooley of The Table

Ren Fuller
Interior of The Table at Season to Taste

Cambridge native Carl Dooley served his first culinary tour of duty at a Maine lobster shack. A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, Dooley worked at Battersby in Brooklyn and as Chef De Cuisine at Craigie on Main before competing in season 13 of Top Chef, making his hometown proud with a top-five finish. In 2016 he opened The Table—a prix-fixe destination blending classic French technique with freewheeling experimentation—on an unassuming block in North Cambridge. Here, hungry patrons can watch Dooley cook in the middle of the cozy dining room and even chat with the friendly chef when he delivers plates to tables himself.

Boston’s best dish:

I love the Caesar Salad at Strip T’s in Watertown. It’s close to home and they sell their dressing by the pint, which makes a great Christmas gift.

Desert island spice:

Cumin. It’s in all my favorite cuisines from Mexican to Indian, Middle Eastern and Chinese.

Kitchen playlist:

During the day we listen to Romeo Santos while prepping for the night. Then it’s Manowar at 5 p.m. to get us fired up for service. And we end the night with Robyn when we’re breaking down.

Favorite food destination:

San Sebastian, Spain. It’s got everything from high end Michelin-starred fine dining to awesome pinxto bars.

Cooking inspiration:

Getting to work with a team. Working in restaurants is the only job I’ve ever had and I’ve always loved that chaotic, high-energy atmosphere.


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