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Nancy Silverton, Chef Series and Featured Cuts

Our new Chef Spotlight Series explores the minds of visionary chefs committed to preserving endangered breeds by featuring them on their menus. Our inaugural feature is Nancy Silverton, star of Chef’s Table, founder of Campanile and La Brea Bakery and owner of the Mozza Restaurants in Los Angeles.

It’s a trust thing.

When Nancy Silverton was getting ready to open up Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles, her partners, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, gave her very little direction. “Joe had an idea for an amaro focus at the bar, and of course we had Italian wine. As far as the food, Mario trusted us, but he wanted us to look into working with Patrick and Heritage Foods, which was still very new.

“What sets us apart as an Italian restaurant — and what doesn’t,” says Nancy, in typically exuberant fashion, “is that we are so ingredient driven. Everything has to be local and seasonal, especially produce. Mario wasn’t able to give me any advice about that because he was in New York, and I already had a relationship with my farmers in California. But meat is one of the hardest ingredients to source, and Heritage took the worry out of knowing where it came from — I love their dedication to slow farms and heritage breeds, and we know these animals are raised under the best conditions, which leads to the best quality — and that was the key to our relationship.

“From the beginning we were using all of our pork from Patrick. At the pizzeria we were using shoulder in the grind for the sausage and the meatballs. Now we’re buying whole pigs at Chi Spacca, and if Patrick calls us and says, ‘Hey I have an excess this week, can you use this or that’ – we can buy cuts to use at our other restaurants. We all want zero waste, and I’m supporting all of my values. In October we buy Heritage goats — last year we featured it for the whole month at Chi Spacca. We do goat sausage, we braise it, we cure it and make salumi.

“Back in ’89 when I opened Campanile it was the beginning of careful sourcing, and I would list our farmers on the menu. But after a while it began to look too commercial. When someone said ‘farm to table’ it could mean anything. So now I always just explain to our servers the back story, and they can tell the customers if anyone is interested. But I know they can taste the difference. I just found a producer of bufala milk mozzarella in Sonoma – it’s the first bufala not from Italy that we’ve found of this kind of quality, so that’s why I mention it. I’m very excited!”

Featured Cuts from This Week’s Chef Series:

Pork Loin, Boneless
Red Wattle or Berkshire
4lb bone-in or boneless $75
8lb bone-in or boneless $140

Pork Boston Butt Shoulder
Red Wattle or Berkshire
4lb bone-in $59
8lb bone-in or boneless $116

Ground Goat
Oberhasli
Three 1lb packs $55

Goat Belly with Ribs
Oberhasli
4lb total $59

On the Road with Cesare Casella —  #ProsciuttiForTutti Tour Goes to LaLaLand!!!

Following our perfectly insane foray into San Francisco armed with Cesare Casella’s new line of amazing prosciutti, we returned to the left coast to introduce these Italian-style cured hams to Los Angeles’ best chefs and culinary luminati.

These are truly the very best heritage hams, prepared naturally in a traditional style – cured in only salt, and (unlike American-style hams) never smoked. Casella’s hams are always cured on the bone for extra flavor.

So what do we do when a product is this good? We share it!

We visited our Los Angeles distributor Premier Meats where Patrick wowed the sales reps with Tales of Carnivorous Adventurous and rare-breed preservation (“you have to eat them to save them”) and we hosted a rare breed tasting of porterhouse pork chops, country ribs, and of course Cesare’s finest prosciutti and salami. Special shout outs to Harry, Udi, Omer, Martha and Stacey at Premier, truly an A-Team! Thanks guys!

We spent three days eating, visiting, tasting, and making friends.

Our first night kicked off with a special event at chi Spacca, Nancy Silverton’s meat mecca of the Mozza group — a celebration of all things Heritage Foods. Cesare sliced his prosciutto and cooked an entire course of braised ribs, and superstar Chef Ryan Denicola blew our minds with his presentations of our Silver Fox rabbit and Tunis and Dorset Horn lamb.

We met with old friends and new friends — Neal Fraser at Redbird, Mary Sue Milliken at Border Grill; the amazing Akasha Richmond at AR Cucina; Jon and Vinny of Animal; Chef Steve Samson of Sotto and the forthcoming RossoBlu. We had breakfast at Sqirl with Chef Jessica and Javier; snacks with Chef Javier at Lucques and later cured meats with Alex at Gwen’s gorgeous butcher shop. We can’t forget the famous Papi Chulo (Roy Choi) and Chef Diego at Commissary at The Line Hotel and then somehow we made it to Gjusta for pizza before dinner in Santa Monica at Cassia. And along the way we snuck in drive-bys at Here’s Looking at You, where Red Wattle bellies rule the roost, and the Tasting Kitchen, whose pork rillettes was one of the most memorable flavors of an astonishing, decadent trip.
Did you miss us in LA? Want to taste Cesare’s prosciutto for yourself? We are going to be in Las Vegas in April!

Come eat with us on Saturday, April 1st when Carnevino hosts its first guest chef dinner with Cesare Casella. A one-night only twist on signature dishes featuring three Heritage breeds of pig. Tickets are available at https://cesarecasella.splashthat.com/.

 

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