We're in the thick of the summer and we enjoyed a phenomenal tasting in the West Village's Osteria 57, a rustic Italian restaurant whose menu consists of savory dishes that are created with fish and vegetables. In addition to a truly satisfying meal, they also had a fantastic wine selection. After finishing this 6-course meal, we sat down with Executive Chef Riccardo Orfino to find out more about his culinary journey, dishes at the restaurant and more.
ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell us about your culinary background in terms of where you studied and previous restaurants you worked in.
CHEF RICCARDO ORFINO: I went to a culinary school in Italy, where I studied for 5 years. After completing my studies, I had the chance to go to Milan and work for 2 Michelin Stars restaurant Il Luogo di Aimo and Nadia. With its 50 years of history, this was definitely one of the most important experiences in my formation. In 2015, I moved to New York and began working as Chef de Cuisine at Osteria della Pace, at Eataly Downtown. After 2 years, I decided to embark in a new adventure and moved to La Pecora Bianca restaurant, where I was Executive Sous Chef until April 2019 when I started at Osteria 57 as Executive Chef.
AM: How would you define your style of cooking?
CHEF RO: I would define my style of cooking as new Italian seasonal food. When I cook, I follow the coastal cuisine approach, which is based on the concept of simplicity: working with fresh flavors to let the simplicity of the ingredients to fully come out. Lastly, I really love to use a lot of herbs when I prepare a dish.
AM: When did Osteria 57 open and as Executive Chef, what is your role there?
CHEF RO: Osteria 57 opened its doors in September 2017 and I joined in April 2019. My role here as Executive Chef goes beyond “just” cooking. It also includes supervising all back of house operations, such as coming up with the menus, working with and directing the staff, dealing with orders …and working closely with Emanuele Nigro, of course. Hands-on on everything!
AM: Tell us about Osteria 57’s menu and why the menu is focused on seafood and vegetables?
CHEF RO: Osteria 57 is a vegetarian and pescatarian restaurant. We love to use seasonal ingredients, and we try to stay as much local as possible. I embraced the restaurant’s philosophy of fresh ingredients and not offering meat, as I believe in a kitchen that works beyond animal products “created” in farms, and that is oriented in using healthy produces. Furthermore, I very much enjoy cooking with vegetable and fish; it is different from my previous experiences and therefore it allows to use my creativity more.
AM: What are 3 signature dishes from Osteria57?
CHEF RO: Crispy Cauliflower with Paprika aioli, Paccheri Pomodoro with Burrata Cheese and Basil and Linguine with Vongole and Bottarga.
AM: What are 3 ingredients that you use in a number of the dishes that are your favorite?
CHEF RO: I would say, definitely tomatoes when in season, basil and extra virgin olive oil.
PHOTOS COURTESY | OSTERIA 57 @Osteria57
Read the June Issue of Athleisure Mag and see The Art of the Snack | For the Pescatarian + Vegetarians in mag.