We had the pleasure of chatting with Chef Pino Posteraro, owner of Cioppino’s in Vancouver and Made in Italy ambassador, about his approach to Italian cuisine and all things delizioso!
Italian chef Pino Posteraro, the chef-proprietor of multi-award winning Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill and Enoteca in Vancouver is known for interpreting traditional Italian recipes with modern flare. Born in Lago, Calabria, his Yaletown restaurant reads like an ode to both his homeland and adopted home, combining imported Italian DOP ingredients with local produce, meats, and Ocean Wise certified seafood. We talked to him about his approach and passion for Italian food.
Q: How do you define Italian food?
A: Italian food represents the regional cuisines of the whole peninsula. That’s what makes it so delicious – because of the biodiversity of dishes that can be found in all the national territory. It is a cuisine based on ingredients rather than techniques, and reflects the tradition of a country where respect of ingredients and simplicity are at the heart of the most loved cuisine in the world: Cucina Italiana!
Q: What’s your approach to sourcing Italian ingredients?
A: The approach is very simple: there are certain items that cannot be replaced: olive oils, rice, dry pastas, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano, San Marzano tomatoes – too much to mention – therefore I rely on trustworthy importers and suppliers my team and I have established a personal relationship with.
Q: Why do you think Italian ingredients are so often imitated?
A: Because they have success commercially and everyone loves “Made in Italy.” Copying is not flattering in this case but actually disturbing because they want to promote something that it is not!
Q: How do you define your approach to Italian food and cooking?
A: I define my cooking as very modern and evolved, but with strong roots and intimately tied to tradition. I call my cuisine Essential because is very much the same as it was a century ago but also very 2015!
Q: How does your upbringing influence your food philosophy?
A: It does in a big way! I wouldn’t be the cook I am today without the insegnamenti (teachings) of my mother. Respect for the ingredients and simplicity are the most sophisticated things to achieve in cooking. She taught me to create clean and pure flavors that I can still savour.
Q: What is one favourite childhood food memory?
A: Seasonal cooking that would vary from one month to another –conserving and preserving, pressing olive oil, making wines, harvesting grain….
Q: What Italian ingredients could you not live without and why?
A: Pasta, tomatoes and olive oil! Why? Because they are my flesh and blood – they make me who I am!
Q: What is your favourite dish that you’ve created?
A: Every season, actually every week, maybe even every day, it might change; this week it’s tortellini di Anitra con erbe di campo (tortellini with duck and wild herbs).