Mattin Noblia lends a helping hand 

Iluna Basque on Union Street — which the former “Top Chef” contestant owns — is one of 15 U.S. restaurants donating a portion of proceeds from Valentine’s Day dinner to Hearts for Haiti: An American Dining Relief Benefit.

How did you get involved in the Hearts for Haiti? Ron Duprat is from Haiti and was a contestant and friend on “Top Chef.” He called me and asked if I’d like to participate.

What special things are going to be on the menu for Valentine’s Day? We have our regular menu and some Valentine’s specials like seared foie gras, monk fish and raspberry charlotte.

How is life post-“Top Chef”? It just opened my cooking to a new world and it was pretty amazing. The restaurant also definitely increased in sales and I’m looking to find another location.

Define Basque cooking. It’s Southern France and Northern Spain, so it’s a fusion of French and Spanish cuisine. It’s a little different, more earthy, not like fancy French cuisine. We use lots of tomato, chili peppers, bell peppers, duck, duck confit and ham.

What’s your favorite food? Obviously one is Basque cuisine — I crave it so much. But my second favorite is Thai food. It’s totally different.

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Juliana Bunim

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