For Chef Tommy of Pepperoncini Restaurant in Havertown, PA, it’s about keeping traditional dishes interesting by adding your own spin. In the eight years that he has worked with Rastelli Foods, that has meant a balance between keeping up with the classics and trying out new items. Pepperoncini offers authentic Italian dishes and homemade desserts made with simple, high quality ingredients.
“I always do traditional things, but put a twist on it. That keeps me interested. I respect where the food is coming from and how we’re getting it, but it’s just using simple, fresh ingredients, keeping it cool and having fun with it.”
Chef Tommy started as a dishwasher at 14, then worked as a server and bartender until he was 25 and went into the kitchen. It was around that time that he opened his first restaurant in Conshohoken, PA. That was followed by successful restaurants in Phoenixville and a BYOB, before settling in Havertown.
“We always get compliments on our steaks and fish. It’s always quality, its fresh. We season it simply with salt and pepper, it’s just the quality of the product. We let the meat speak for itself. We try not to put a lot of sauces or rubs on everything.”
For the majority of the 8 years since Pepperoncini opened, Chef Tommy has partnered with Rastelli Foods. Pepperoncini is the non-traditional, traditional Italian restaurant and Chef Tommy is always innovating. Rastelli is the right partner to support that.
“You can always count on somebody from Rastelli. They’re going to take care of you.”
“Those scallops are insane. They’re nice and dry. They caramelize perfectly, so it’s fun seeing them go out of the kitchen. They’re gorgeous.”
“Oxtail over polenta cakes. The haddock is beautiful and forget it with the Chilean Sea bass because it’s just like eating a piece of butter.”
“Between the pork chop and the veal chop, when the plate comes back to the kitchen, all that’s left is a piece of bone. Everyone who gets it says, ‘That’s the best veal chop I’ve ever had.’”
PREP TIPS: Always get the meat to room temp before you cook it. Season it simply and let that product speak for itself. It’s already got so much flavor. You can put a little bit of garlic for an extra kick.