Dave Pasternack

Dave Pasternack is a James Beard Award-winning chef renowned for his seafood expertise and for introducing crudo to the American culinary lexicon, first served at his acclaimed New York City restaurant Esca in 2000. Called "the fish whisperer" by The New York Times, Pasternak co-authored the bestselling cookbook The Young Man and the Sea (2007).


Dave Pasternack grew up on Long Island with a passion for fishing. Even as he began living and cooking in Manhattan after culinary school, Pasternack would spend as many days off as he could fishing along the Atlantic.

After working in mostly French-themed eateries for two decades, he opened the Italian restaurant Esca. There he built a reputation for uncompromising dedication to serving only the freshest from the ocean and leaning into what he did best, cooking seafood. Pasternack famously sourced his fish from over 50 purveyors. He was known to not only haul in the fish he caught but also the wild game he'd shot to use in his restaurant. In addition to Esca, Pasternack opened Barchetta and Barca. He has been featured in such publications as The New York Times, The New Yorker, Gourmet, Esquire, Vogue, GQ, and others. Pasternack has appeared on Today show, Martha Stewart, Lidia's Italy in America, Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, and competed on Iron Chef America. He closed Esca in 2021.


Dave Pasternack is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

About Food & Wine

Food & Wine, a Dotdash Meredith Brand, is an award-winning online resource for anyone passionate about the culinary world. With rigorously tested recipes and the most trusted restaurant, drinks, culinary travel and home coverage, we inspire and empower people everywhere to discover, create, and devour the best in food and wine. Learn more about us and our editorial process.

Latest from Dave Pasternack