Two of the biggest names in the Watertown food scene have teamed up. Food Network featured chef Mike Fucci has become the head chef at The Talk Restaurant, the Watertown Square spot owned by Kaz and Lisa Keuchkarian.
Fucci has run Chef Mike’s Kitchen catering business for many years, and has not worked in a restaurant for about 15 years. In February, he appeared on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen and won the challenge for football food called “Fry-Day Night Bites.”
Moving into a restaurant kitchen is an exciting and sudden opportunity for Fucci, who got a call on July 5 asking him if he wanted the job. He took over just a few days later. Fucci knew the Keuchkarians and said he was pleased to join forces.
“Its great when you can connect with a great family like the Keuchkarians,” Fucci said. “They are great people.”
Having prepared mostly the same dishes for 300-400 people at a time for his catering business, Fucci said it is refreshing to be able to be creative working in a restaurant.
“It’s great to get in the kitchen, on the line, and put out real quality food for the masses,” said Fucci.
Working in a place where people can come taste his creations is another bonus, he said.
“It will get my name out as a Food Network champ,” Fucci said. “It helps when you have a restaurant under you.”
Fucci will work with the Keuchkarians to make some changes to the menu at The Talk. He expects changes to debut within the next couple weeks.
“We will keep some of the originals but we will add some items,” Fucci said. “We are putting filet back on the menu, and we want to have a good surf and turf.”
Some other changes will be on the appetizer side of the menu, Fucci said. He wants to come up with vibrant dishes that can be prepared in a few minutes and get them on people’s tables quickly.
Monday night, Fucci demonstrated by whipping up a dish. In one pan he heated cherry tomatoes and olives under high heat, while sauteing scallops in another pan. He combined them on a plate along with some fresh basil for a tasty dish that took about 5 minutes to cook.
Just a few days into his new venture, Fucci said it feels right.
“I feel reborn,” Fucci said. “I’m back where I belong.”