Set the scene for Olleyville’s winter.

The restaurant is located in the middle a vineyard. Winter is a time when the leaves are off, but you get to see the surrounding hills. This is a beautiful time of the year. It’s my first job in a vineyard, and I love the atmosphere. We only use local products, and it’s great to live in a place where everyone grows something.

What is your favorite way to cook food?

The wood-fired stove is the focal point of the dining area. It is visible to everyone, and almost every dish gets into the wood-fired oven. The red box is used because of its intense direct heat. This is perfect for pizzas and for coloring meats and veggies. We let the fire die down at the end of the dinner so that we could braise the food gently overnight.

Do you have a favorite dish that is always served in the winter?

We love slow-cooked meats in winter. We braise a shoulder of lamb overnight with cloves, star anise, and bay leaf. The heart is cooked until it falls apart and then finished on fire to get a nice crust. It’s usually served with gremolata, white bean puree, or a combination of both. Other sides can be added. The braised cabbage gets a beautiful color when it is cooked in a wood-fired oven. I get truffles locally and make truffle mash. Buttered polenta is also a favorite. It’s a combination of black garlic, samphire, and butter.


How about dessert?

In winter, I always make a chocolate fondant. Hot chocolate is a favorite dessert, and I like to serve it along with ice cream because the contrast between hot and cold is what I’m all about. A good dessert for cold weather is crème caramel. I soak the raisins in brandy to make them really juicy, then add them on top of thyme. This is an unusual combination, but it works.

How is the Olleyville dining experience?

We tend to put the main feasts in the middle. My cooking style tends to be rustic and not refined. I wouldn’t say I like to intimidate anyone. I want to have a relaxed, nice dinner with families. We offer a shared meal to groups over 10, and they enjoy it because we decide what goes on the menu. It’s great when we have 160 people inside. Everyone is chatting and enjoying the food. It’s very satisfying.

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