...arrives as the consummate veteran of the Los Angeles dining scene. He was born and raised in New York, and, while earning a Liberal Arts degree, landed a job at a local restaurant in the prep kitchen. Before long he was making bread for the restaurant, and then, heading up the kitchen. In 1981 he moved to Los Angeles where his culinary career began to unfold.
Don was part of the catering department for both the Hotel Queen Mary and Pavillions at the Dorothy Chandler Complex. From there he was tapped by his mentor, Michael Roberts, to join the culinary staff of the renowned Trumps in West Hollywood as Chef de Cuisine. Don relished this experience stating, “Michael helped me take down all of the barriers to French cooking and make it more personal, and a true expression of who I am.”
He went on to work as General Manager and Executive Chef for the Carnegie Deli in Beverly Hills. In 1996 Don was hired as Corporate Chef for Grill Concepts, overseeing the kitchens of the illustrious Grill on the Alley, as well as kitchen, menu designs and staff training for five new Daily Grill locations. Don then continued his Executive Chef odyssey at Ocean Trails Golf Club, in Palos Verdes (now Trump International) cementing his loyal following with exceptional Zagat ratings as well as a tagging of “Most Splurge Worthy” restaurant in Los Angeles by Bon Appetit.
In August of 2003, Don conceived his own dream, Rocca Restaurant, in Santa Monica. Rocca embodied the food of the Italian countryside in a casual, comfortable setting reminiscent of home. Unpretentious preparations executed with the highest quality ingredients defined the restaurant, capturing an elegance with an air of peasantry. The daily changing menu reflected the seasons and the sustainable environment, prompting a large following of reviewers, food and wine aficionados and simple folks with a love for a great meal around a warm table of family and friends.
As fate would have it, Don settled in the Los Feliz area in 2007, after being a life-long Westsider, and immediately saw the demand for passionate food in Silverlake, Los Feliz and Atwater Village. He felt the area craved a cozy neighborhood restaurant with serious wines at down to earth prices, farm-to-table food, seasonal menus, and artisanal cheeses and salumis. So when the opportunity arose at barbrix, he took it, and he and The Blottas collaborated to bring good eats, wine and beer to Silver Lake.
In 2013, The Blotta’s asked Dickman to partner with them on an Italian venture in Atwater Village, All’Acqua. The Pan-Italian wood-fire oven driven menu opened in the winter of 2014 to rave reviews. Chef Don still oversees the kitchen at barbrix restaurant with tenderness and love.