Meet the Chef!
What is your background as a chef? Where did you train and what else have you done besides working with Vasse Virgin?
I did my chef training in Italy and worked throughout Europe mostly in Switzerland and France. I migrated to Australia in 1987 and ended up working in a resort on Lizard Island in far north Queensland. From there, I moved to WA in 2000 and worked at Flutes restaurant.
I wanted to branch out and do my own cooking for my own business so I opened my own restaurant in Witchcliffe called Pensiero. At the same time, I started my own gourmet food company called Fine Foods of Margaret River.
After a while the Gourmet Food range was keeping me busy enough so I closed the restaurant to focus on this. Then Louis and Edwina approached me to work with them on creating the Vasse Virgin Food Range. We started with dukkah and have expanded into the many different products you see today!
Can you tell us how you created the Vasse Virgin product range?
My inspiration is the natural flavours, leaving them as untouched as possible. If you work with good quality ingredients, you don’t need to do anything too fancy to them to make them shine. We don’t take any short cuts and make sure there is integrity in the product.
What is your favourite and least favourite thing to cook?
There is nothing I don’t like cooking! But having an Italian background, my favourite foods to cook are those with Italian flavours.
How do you like to use some of the Vasse Virgin Gourmet Food range?
I like to use them in simple ways, my favourite Macadamia Pesto on my homemade pasta, and tapenade as a cheese accompaniment is simple but delicious.
What is your food philosophy?
What tips do you have for people wanting to make their meals at home a little more gourmet?
Don’t overdo it! Keep the flavours simple and let them speak for themselves. Nicely presented dishes make a big difference with clean flavours.
If you could only cook with 5 ingredients for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
Plus olive oil of course!
If you’d like to meet the man himself, you can usually find Romano at the Margaret River Farmer’s Markets every second Saturday.