Chef/owner Alan Laskowski of Blu Island Bistro (625 Tamiami Trail S., Venice. 485-8200; bluislandbistro.com) in Venice has been a culinary pro since high school, gradually working his way up the industry ladder from dishwasher to restaurateur. Today, his eatery is a breakfast-and-lunch mainstay, serving BLTs and banana French toast dishes with fresh, unique flavor twists.
Q: How did your culinary career begin and evolve?
A: I have always been interested in both food preparation and eating food. It started early in high school, when I worked in nearby Philadelphia restaurants as a dishwasher, busboy and at the historic Jersey Shore Chalfonte Hotel. As I got older, my interest in food got stronger. I enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America and graduated, and it was a significant experience in my life. I went on to manage and ultimately own a restaurant in Philadelphia, where I received a number of awards. This all led to me opening Blu Island Bistro.
Q: What was your initial vision for Blu Island Bistro?
A: We opened in 2011. My vision for Blu was that it would be a unique restaurant that would capture the community feeling of Venice yet offer a big city menu with a Philadelphia influence. I wanted to provide excellent cuisine and a joyful dining experience.