In this three-part series, we talk to some of the city’s best chefs to find out what they like to cook for their families
It seems that Vancouver’s most illustrious chefs aren’t that different than us. When it comes to home cooking, it turns out that three of Vancouver’s award-winning culinary stars—David Hawksworth of his award-winning eponymous restaurant as well as the more casual Nightingale; Rob Feenie of the Cactus Club Cafe and first Canadian chef to win Iron Chef America; and Mark Perrier, chef and co-proprietor of Osteria Savio Volpe and Pepino’s—also crave a pizza or sloppy burger once in awhile.
BCLiving sat down with these renowned chefs to ask them a few questions about their home cooking, fall meals and who inspires them. In this third of three parts, we speak with Mark Perrier and share his recipe for spaghetti and meatballs (see below).
BCL: What are your go-to recipes at home?
Perrier: I hunt in the fall. My son loves my venison sloppy joes with yam fries. However, my daughter likes different dishes, her favourite being steamed crab. In the fall, I also like to cook lots of zucchini, kale and potatoes.
BCL: In your opinion, what makes for a perfect fall meal?
Perrier: Fall is my favourite season because we have all these wonderful root vegetables available to us. A favourite fall meal would have lots of root vegetables and polenta.
BCL: Do you cook much differently at home than you do at your restaurants?
Perrier: At Savio Volpe, there is a heavy focus on vegetables. The meals I cook at home are very similar—heavy on organic, farm-to-table vegetables. Then, I pair vegetables with a wild game stew or something braised.
BCL: How do you like to entertain at home?
Perrier: We do very little entertaining at home because we have two young children and both of us work. If we entertain, we prefer to take guests out for dinner at a restaurant.
BCL: What are your five must-have ingredients in your pantry?
Perrier: My staples include: really good olive oil, high-end salts, garlic, lemon and pancetta.
BCL: Who was your main chef/cooking influence when you were growing up?
Perrier: I didn’t start in this industry until I was 24. I have a degree in forestry from UBC. However, I always loved to eat and had to cook for myself. I figured out I had a natural aptitude for cooking. I worked under David Hawksworth at West and he was an incredible mentor. He taught me all the fundamentals. He also helped me when I was at CinCin. For the first 10 years of my career, I was obsessed and had no hobbies other than cooking.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, whole
- 2 onions, chopped
- Chili flakes, to taste
- Fresh basil
- 4 jars of tomato passata
- Combine oil and garlic cloves, cooking gently and slowly until soft and golden—don’t rush it.
- Add onion and continue to cook until onion is very soft and broken down, about half an hour.
- Add a pinch of chili flakes and basil and fry one minute until fragrant. Add tomato and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer 30-40 minutes until thickened slightly and flavours have come together.
- 2 cups packed bread, day old, no crust
- Milk to soak
- 2 eggs
- 500 g beef
- 500 g pork
- ¼ cup grana cheese
- 1/8 cup pecorino
- 200 g ricotta
- 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Chili flakes, to taste
- 2 tsp salt
- ½ cup dried bread crumbs as needed
- Combine all ingredients. Mix gently and form into tennis-sized balls.
- Fry balls off in olive oil until nicely browned.
- Cover with the tomato sauce and simmer lightly for roughly one hour until fully cooked through and nicely flavoured.
- Store-bought spaghetti, Italian bronze-cut preferred
- Boil pasta according to directions on package. When al dente, combine with meatballs and sauce.
- Finish cooking the pasta in the sauce.
- Plate and garnish with grated Romano cheese.