Damian’s first restaurant job landed him at the dishwashing sink of a local diner, until he worked his way up to man the stoves. He enrolled in The Culinary program at Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Culinary. Upon graduation in 1997, he spent two summers on Nantucket island at the Brant Point Grill with The Myriad Restaurant Group. In 1998 he moved to New York City to assist with the opening of the first W hotel and the restaurant Heartbeat with Chef Michel Nischan. 

Damian was the executive chef at Shallots, a refined Mediterranean restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, that was also Glatt Kosher. Heading to work for Daniel Boulud at db Bistro.There he learned as much about Alsatian cuisine as he did classic French After over 2 years as the sous chef he left to go to the flagship Restaurant Daniel as the Sous Chef/Banquet Chef. . He was asked to become the Chef of Daniels next restaurant Bar Boulud.  steeped in classic French cuisine, and a focus on regional Burgundian cooking and a large charcuterie/pate program. Working with Daniel and Charcuterie Chef Giles Verot,

Piccolo came when Damian and Ilma where looking to open their vision of an Italian restaurant, the kind you might find off on a side street in Southern Italy.Unfortunately, Piccolo closed during the pandemic, but The Piccolo Pasta Company  arose from it.

Damian along with his business partner and wife Ilma, opened CHAVAL in the West End of Portland.The restaurant has Spanish & French inspired seasonal cuisine, craft cocktails and well chosen wine list with a neighborhood atmosphere. 

We received many accolades so far including Best New Maine Restaurant as awarded by the Portland Press Herald. Best Vegetarian Dish, and Best European Restaurant by The Phoenix. And a James beard Best Chef Finalist in 2022.

Most recently Damian and Ilma opened The Ugly Duckling in  2023 in the heart of the West End. It is a Bakeshop and Luncheonette, with fresh baked goods English muffins,sandwiche, cocktails & espresso.


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