Since having moved from Romania in 2001, Chef Gabriel Botezan has been immersed in fine dining but acquired his own taste for excellence by keeping things simple.
Botezan first began professionally pursuing his career in the Detroit area in 2005. Having landed a job at Bacco, Luciano DelSignore’s upscale Italian staple in Southfield, Botezan quickly became interested in expanding his horizons.
In addition to his work at Bacco, in 2014 he had the idea for a food truck called Taste Budz, bringing a casual lean to his approach. From the truck, he and a friend served truffle parmesan fries, deep-fried Oreos, and paninis.
To further display his own style, Botezan worked the early Detroit pop-up circuit at locations like the former St. Cece’s in Corktown. When St. Cece’s was sold, he moved back to Bacco as its chef de cuisine.
Today, he and his wife Gabriela, a pastry chef, cater private events and do frequent pop-ups together, showing off their versatile European flair.
Botezan will be the featured chef in residence at FRAMEbar from May 11 through June 5, bringing a Barcelona-style shared menu and TAPASbar experience to Frame’s casual counterpoint.
“I fell in love with doing pop-ups at Frame because I am able to express my roots in a way that showcases my heritage,” Botezan says.
Botezan works to maintain a simple palette, but says he’s motivated to amaze others with subtle inclusions of high-quality ingredients, incorporating as many Michigan products and produce into his cuisine.
“By working in restaurants, I have found that this busy world keeps you calm,” Botezan says. “I have also learned how to respect the food and products I am working with more than anything else. If you do not respect something, you will find that it is quite hard to put anything nice out on the table.”
Next up: A restaurant to call his own.
“I also want some of the ideas I have for my restaurant to be included in my current dishes,” he says. “Eventually, I hope to open a casual European-style restaurant where the food would be farm-to-table with a European flair.”
To keep up with Gabriel Botezan’s culinary exploits, follow him on Instagram @gabrielseptiumiu.