Although Chef Bugica was born in Reno, Nevada he still considers himself a "transplant" from Pisa Italy. He grew up with the influence of his Grandmother, Mary Pagni, and Mother, Diane Bugica, always cooking. It was not just that they were cooking it was how they were cooking that made the largest impression. Using beans, house cured meats, black cabbage, pancetta, apples and chestnuts, all of the ingredients from the bounty of his grandfather, Secondo Valentino Bugica's ranch and farm. Sunday lunch and dinners consisted of traditional dishes such as tripe, sugo with whole sausage and rigatoni to simpler items such as chard and ricotta ravioli, gnocchi with pesto, and salami and cheese.
At 18, his passion for food and his heritage took him back to Italy where he lived for 7 years. There he met his wife Sonja. While he will quickly tell you that the most pivotal points in his life were marrying Sonja and the births of his son Valentino and daughter Dahlia, there were also significant events that shaped his culinary path.
Influencing his career, was his apprenticeship with 2 butchers in San Miniato, Italy, Mirco Bertucci and Sergio Falaschi and making wine with his 86-year old cousin. They taught him most of what he knows today about charcuterie and gave him his highly developed appreciation of wine and food pairing. In Italy he studied with other artisans while working for Il Bistro and Il Posto in Versilia, Italy and Cagliostro in Pisa. After leaving Italy Dino was a chef for the Fairmont Kealani in Maui, Hawaii for 2 years. He was on a vacation to Northern Sonoma County when someone recommended he make the trip to Santi restaurant. Once he tried their Trippa alla Fiorentina he knew this was a restaurant he wanted to be a part of. Soon after he joined Santi's team of Italian Chefs. His skills and passion for this style of cooking were a perfect fit and the rest is history.
After working at Santi for 5 years, Dino decided to open Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria, a rustic space that fits perfectly around a wood fired oven. Dino’s dream is to bring cucina povera, which consists of using the most basic locally available ingredients combined with recipes that have been proven through centuries, to Geyserville.