ANGELO MELCHORIE ANGELO’S TRATTORIA WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A CHEF? “I’ve always enjoyed watching people create in the kitchen, especially watching my mother, and when I was really young and was in Italy, I saw my grandmother making things, so I was always intrigued watching things being created from scratch. I always had a knack in the kitchen and I decided to pursue it, and the passion grew stronger and stronger, and I decided this is what I needed to be, a chef.”
CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW YOU GOT THE POINT OF OPENING YOUR OWN RESTAURANT? “I started my apprenticeship in 1985, and I worked under a lot of really great, creative chefs, and they taught me a lot, such as how to respect the kitchen and take care of the customers. I got my Red Seal in 1988, and from there I worked at different small restaurants and hotels. Then from there, my first big job was at Liuna Gardens Banquet and Conference Centre and I worked with some really talented people there. I had the opportunity to design some special menus for some dignitaries and a few prime ministers. After that I decided I wanted to do my own catering and I decided it was time to go on my own, and now, here I am.”
DO YOU HAVE A COOKING PHILOSOPHY?
“I just keep it simple, I don’t try to mask or hide any food, and just let the natural flavours of the food come out.”
IS THERE SOMEONE IN YOUR CAREER THAT STANDS OUT AS A MENTOR?
“My mentor as a chef would probably be John Ports, he was an Austrian chef, and I actually trained with him at the Old Stone Inn, he was really good, he taught me a lot, and he was the one who put me on the path to becoming a good chef.”
HOW DO YOU STAY EDUCATED ON NEW FOOD TRENDS? “I try and keep in touch with a lot of young chefs, and a lot of the local chefs, and I think going on the Internet helps as well. But I think trial and error; and experimenting and getting the customer opinion on it; if they like it, then we put it on the menu.”
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE INGREDIENT TO USE? “Not particularly. I like to work with seafood because it’s so versatile and it doesn’t take much to cook it. A lot of people try to overcook it and you shouldn’t. You can be very creative with fish and seafood. I like using a lot of fresh herbs, I don’t like buying dried herbs. Fresh herbs just help bring out the natural flavours in foods.”
WHAT KIND OF MEALS DO YOU LIKE TO COOK AT HOME?
“We love to entertain and things like that. We do a lot of
barbequing, and even though I’m here all the time, we still do a lot of rustic Italian cooking at home, things that I maybe can’t do here, like stuffed artichokes. We like to keep our roots; what our grandparents taught us.”
IS THERE A MUST TRY DISH ON THE MENU HERE? “The grilled octopus. Even though people cringe and stuff when they hear it, it’s to die for. When you are eating it, you would never think it’s octopus. It’s so tender, and the seasoning we use on it gives it a great flavour.”
WHAT WOULD BE ON THE MENU AT YOUR LAST SUPPER? “If I had to choose, you know what, it would be a feast, because I love so many different foods, I love different Asian cuisines, I love Italian/Mediterranean cuisine, it would be one grand buffet, let’s just put it that way.
IF YOU WANT TO TRY OUT THE DELICIOUS, RUSTIC ITALIAN FOOD MADE BY CHEF ANGELO, YOU CAN VISIT ANGELO’S TRATTORIA LOCATED AT 5928 CLARK AVE IN NIAGARA FALLS OR VISIT THE WEBSITE AT ANGELOS-TRATTORIA.COM