Things

Inside Federico Riezzo’s Kitchen

28th July 2015

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Yousef Eldin

The Italian drinks maestro picks out his favourite coffee and the battered stovetop pot he makes it in. Also: two great cocktail books

INGREDIENTS

Badger & Dodo coffee »
“We used this coffee at Coppa. The roaster is an Australian connoisseur who set up his own company. It’s slightly darker roasted coffee, which I prefer – you get a lot more notes of hazelnut, marzipan and chocolate as opposed to this bang of lemon juice and lime, which I’m not so keen on.” Federico also recommends Caffe Mariani – a friend brought him a bag from Italy (see picture below).

Aperol »
An Italian aperitif made of bitter orange, gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona among other ingredients. Federico’s favourite cocktail at the moment is a mix of Aperol, prosecco and lager (he cites Peroni, his sponsors). “One part of each and then I put three parts Peroni. So you have the sweetness and sourness of the Aperol, the bitterness of the beer and the sparkly length of the prosecco. It’s very refreshing and a little bit dangerous.”

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Angostura bitters »
“You must have bitters if you want to make good cocktails.”

Tinned tuna »
“I always have tins of tuna in the house.” We didn’t get to see which brand Federico favours so we’ll recommend Ortiz.

OBJECTS

Bialetti espresso maker »
Federico makes us espresso in a battered stovetop pot that has clearly had a lot of use. “This is incredibly important. It’s been travelling with me for a while. I’ve seen places in Italy where they have machines 15-20 years old and when coffee comes out it has a little crema, which is incredible.”

Cookworks 6.5l slow cooker »
“These slow cookers are absolute genius. I make a lot of beef cheeks at home. Put it on in the morning, low, and come back after work and your meal is ready and it’s absolutely delicious. It’s a lifesaver for me. I do the beef cheeks with some red wine, celery, carrot, onion, a bit of tomato puree and roast potatoes on the side. You just look at them and they fall apart.”

“Nicolas Cage” cocktail-making kit »
Federico goes upstairs for a moment and returns with a black calf-leather wrap which he opens to reveal a variety of cocktail-making implements and ingredients. “I was working for Bacardi a good few years ago and I got this made bespoke. We’d come around to people’s houses when they were throwing a party and bartend for three or four hours, make super-premium drinks. It was a great thing to do.” We’re still not sure why he calls it “Nicolas Cage”; when we ask he says, cryptically, “The cage of Nicolas, you know?” Nope, us neither.

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BOOKS

Federico has hardly any cookbooks at home (the one in the picture below is actually a fake book) but after some persuasion he mentions a few books that have made an impression on him in the past

The Flavour Thesaurus, Niki Segnit »
“This is an incredible book. It tells you what goes with what. There’s lots of very insightful information about where ingredients come from, why it tastes like this, what chemical compounds make it taste like that, what would it work with, and so on.” – Federico

MoVida, Frank Camorra, Richard Cornish »
“Movida is a big restaurant in Melbourne and this is a great book, very insightful.”

The Complete Nose to Tail, Fergus Henderson »
The collected works of Fergus Henderson, the man behind the St John restaurants in London. “I love cooking things from St John books. And I like cookbooks that are really black and white: it’s about the food, no photographs – I like that.”

How to Mix Drinks or the Bon Vivant’s Companion: The Bartender’s Guide, Jerry Thomas »
Federico recommends this book by the legendary 19th-century American bartender Jerry Thomas who is considered “the father of American mixology”. It was the first drinks book ever published in the US and a print source for classics such as the Tom Collins.

The PDT Cocktail Book, Jim Meehan »
“This is another good cocktail book written by a guy who runs a speakeasy-style bar in New York. It’s a great book, insightful and not up it’s own arse, which is important.”

Posted 28th July 2015

In Things

 

Interview: Killian Fox
Photographs: Yousef Eldin

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