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Flavour Profile Q&A: Stefano Pieraccini, of The Rocca Group

This restaurateur’s family portfolio includes Rico’s and The Broughton in Edinburgh

Published: December 13, 2021
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What’s your favourite ingredient?

Scottish langoustines. When I’m lucky enough to be out and about, any dish on a menu that has langos on it will be ordered.

Do you have a guilty food pleasure?

I love a Fisher & Donaldson Scotch pie. I always visit when I’m in Fife - which is lucky because I’m there often visiting our very own Seafood Ristorante in St Andrews.

Tell us about your first food memory?

It’s probably with my Nonna and Nonno, my Italian grandparents. When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time in Italy, mainly in the Tuscany region where they were from. They had a vegetable patch at the bottom of their garden. So I would pick some of the vegetables with my Nonno then we would take it up to my Nonna and I would help her to prepare everything before eating together.

What’s your favourite Scottish restaurant, deli or café?

Customers ask me this a lot and I always say Ondine in Edinburgh. I spend most of my time at the Seafood Ristorante but very rarely get to enjoy any seafood myself, so when I do get to go, usually on a Tuesday, it’s very, very enjoyable.

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What would be your last supper?

It would be completely nostalgic. To start we’d have my Nonna’s risotto. It’s so simple, literally just rice and peas with a small amount of pancetta. My main would be veal escalopes cooked in white wine accompanied with some mashed potatoes and vegetables (I know it might sound a bit boring but honestly, it’s incredible). Then for sweet, it would have to be lemon tart with raspberry sorbet.

Starter or pudding?

Starter, 100 per cent. The best I’ve ever had was when I was at a restaurant in Berlin – it was tempura langoustine and honestly to this day I can close my eyes and still taste it.

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Do you have any food hates?

I’ve never been a fan of cucumber. Also, a food-related pet hate of mine is when I see customers season a dish before tasting it.

What starters, main and dessert would be served at your dream dinner party and who would you invite?

Dinner parties have never really been my thing but if I was to choose anyone to host it would have to be Diego Maradona. Tiger Woods would definitely be in attendance as I’m a keen golfer and I’d have to include my late father as well. I think the four of us would have some laughs.

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In terms of the food, we’d have some nice pasta and steaks but I would be more focused on the wine and negronis.

What's your favourite geographical foodie destination?

Barcelona. I will never ever get bored of visiting it.

The Rocca Group consists of Rico’s, Rico’s Pasta Bar and The Broughton in Edinburgh, as well as the award-winning Seafood Ristorante in St Andrews. For more information, see www.theroccagroup.co.uk

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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