2011 Forty Under 40 Winner: Dominic Iannarelli
Friday, March 18, 2011 7:00 AM
Age 31 | Director of restaurant operations/executive chef, Splash Seafood Bar & Grill, Jethro’s BBQ, Jethro ‘n Jake’s Smokehouse Steaks
Dominic Iannarelli’s cell phone never seems to stop ringing, and it’s easy to see why. He’s the kind of guy who knows how to get things done, with panache.
Iannarelli, the executive chef at Splash Seafood Bar & Grill, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Splash as well as two other popular restaurants: Jethro’s BBQ and Jethro ‘n Jake’s Smokehouse Steaks.
Last year, Iannarelli recruited the Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food” cable television show to visit Des Moines to tape an episode at Jethro’s BBQ, helping to further the area’s growing visibility nationally.
“Just through this economy and the way everything’s been, I’m very happy that I can run three successful growing businesses through all of that,” he said.
Iannarelli began working in restaurants when he was 16 and found that he liked it. Later, “at Iowa State, a lot of people I knew had gotten into culinary arts. As I got into it, I found I had a natural knack for it,” he said.
He moved to Des Moines from Ames after receiving a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management in 2000.
Though he works seven days a week, Iannarelli finds time to donate his talents to numerous community nonprofit organizations, said Kit Curran, executive director of the Des Moines Wine Festival Foundation, one of many organizations for which Iannarelli volunteers.
“He is the ‘go-to guy’ for numerous organizations in need of culinary expertise or donations,” Curran wrote in a nomination letter.
In addition to serving on the wine festival foundation’s board, Iannarelli has volunteered for the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, the Kidney Foundation, Best Buddies, the Terrace Hill Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Des Moines Metro Opera and the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival.
“He never turns anyone down and is definitely a hands-on man,” wrote Loretta Sieman, who has worked with Iannarelli at numerous events. “‘No’ is not in Dominic’s vocabulary.”
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