The Modern Italian Cook: Joe Trivelli
Joe Trivelli is co-head chef at London’s iconic River Café, where he has worked since 2001. Southern Italian on his father’s side but born and raised in Kent, Joe’s first book, The Modern Italian Cook was released last year and has been talked about non-stop since.
The last couple of years have been pretty epic for you…. The Modern Italian Cook, OFM Book of the Year, Fortnum & Mason Awards Debut Cookbook of the Year… mamma mia. What is the moment you look back on with most happiness?
The moment I look back on with most fondness, escaping to Italy to finish writing the book whilst dad was in the midst of his olive harvest. He would help me in the evenings and I him picking during the days.
I won’t ever forget you cooking lunch for me whilst you were recipe writing for The Modern Italian Cook – I felt the most incredible gratitude. Do you have a recipe you keep going back to or one you’re most pleased with?
I’ve had the most positive feedback about a pasta with peppers, it was one of the first recipes and did kind of define the book. It maybe my favourite too.
Who do you most admire in the kitchen?
Outside River Cafe circles the chef I most admire Stephen Harris from the Sportsman. Just brilliant.
In your mind, what is it that makes The River Cafe such a great place to be?
It’s the people that make the River Café great, be they colleagues or customers.
You use extra virgin olive oil somewhat liberally let’s say at The River Cafe. Do you also use monocultivar oils in the kitchen or are you mostly using blends of different olives?
We use both. The monocultivars are usually from Felsina wine estate on the borders of colli senesi and Chianti Classico. We buy from them, destoned, a leccino, pendolino or ragiolo depending on the season as well as more traditional blend.
What’s your favourite thing about Italians?
Appreciation of what the important things in life are.