Today we’d like to introduce you to Darren Atkins .
Hi Darren, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was born in Australia, moved to NYC when I was 21, and landed a fashion business job. I was working with Italians who inspired me to learn the Italian language and delve into regional Italian cooking. I went to culinary school ( International Culinary Center-formerly FCI) in 2000. I staged at Beppe, Chef Cesare Casella’s first New York City restaurant, during culinary school. I went on to work at another of Cesare’s restaurants, Salumeria Rosi, where I learned about the world of Salumi! I traveled extensively throughout Italy, getting inspired someday to open my little Alimentari/Salumeria/Pasta shop. I worked at several other restaurants while in NYC, Felidia, Ciano, and Storico, to name a few, where I explored my other culinary passion-pasta making.
In 2014 my wife and I decided to move to Burlington to be closer to family. The opportunity became available to take over a space perfect for my dream shop, and il Centro Alimentari/Salumeria was born!
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I think the biggest struggle has always been, especially recently-staffing!
It’s hard to find people that care about the same things you do and have the passion that you do, I’ve been fortunate enough to find a few loyal and dedicated people, and I intend to support them any way I can, as they continue to always support me and my business.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I’m the chef/owner of il Centro Alimentari/Salumeria in Burlington, NC
il Centro is a neighborhood Alimentari/Salumeria & pasta shop offering artisanal focaccia panini handmade & extruded pasta to-go, pizza al taglio, Italian Salumi, cheeses, vegetable-driven antipasti, and frozen provisions.
Enjoy a handmade pasta, panini, antipasti or tagliere di salumi e formaggi in front of the shop!
Who else deserves credit in your story?
Many family and friends have given me advice, believed in me, and supported me along the way, but no one more than my wife, Jan! She puts up with all the hours I do and complaints I have.
- Website: ilcentroalimentari.com
- Instagram: @ilcentroalimentari
- Facebook: @ilcentroalimentari
- Yelp: https://yelp.to/cs0YCbQKdqb