1. How would you describe your food philosophy?
I like to define my cooking from two territories, the one my parents left behind – Italy and the one we live in now – Melbourne. By this I mean we use Italian techniques and traditions while making the most of the local produce and environment.
2. You’ve written a number of cookbooks before – what separates this one from the others?
This one is all about the Cellar Bar, we’ve never dedicated a book just to the Cellar Bar before, it’s recipes have always appeared in other books but in this book we delve deeper into the stories and recipes that make it the place it is.
3. What are your favourite recipes from this cookbook?
I could not possibly pick! Pasta is a stand out and a staple in the cellar bar so i’d have to go a pasta dish. But what about the cannoli? And braised dishes? I can’t pick!
4. What do you love about Italian food?
What is not to love! It’s warming and comforting and nourishing. It brings people together, it’s restorative and celebratory,
5. What would you say is the secret to great Italian food?
Love! And premium ingredients. I don’t mean expensive either, i mean fresh, good quality. For example if you’re going to use basil, it has to be fresh. If you are going to use ox tail, use sustainable and well looked after meat. In italian cooking theres often no where to hide so good produce is key.
6. What’s your favourite thing about being a chef?
Satisfying hungry people
7. From restaurants to cookbooks to TV appearances, you’re certainly busy. What’s an easy meal to make when you’re on the run?
A simple pasta, maybe garlic, chilli, olive, oil, some capers. All things likely to be in the pantry or fridge already.
8. What is one piece of advice you’d pass on to home cooks
Don’t worry about following recipes strictly. if something feels like it needs a little more salt or oil or you prefer more chilli then add it. Use the recipe as a guide but be brave and adjust it as you need.
For a taste of The Cellar Bar try this Tiramisu.
The Cellar Bar by Guy Grossi, published by Penguin Random House is on sale now.