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Meet the chef - Giuseppe Vannucci at Al Molo in Weymouth

PUBLISHED: 12:47 11 June 2015 | UPDATED: 12:47 11 June 2015

Giuseppe making fresh pasta

Giuseppe making fresh pasta

Archant

Tim Newton and Giuseppe Vannucci combine the Italian cuisine from the Emilia Romagna region with seasonal Dorset produce at Al Molo

Situated at Weymouth’s beautiful art deco Pier Bandstand, Al Molo is a fine dining Italian restaurant created by Tim Newton and his partner Giuseppe Vannucci. Tim initially worked in the hotel and catering industry before going into customer service and computer software training. After being made redundant he went into business with Giuseppe and another friend to launch Tim’s Kitchen; a coffee shop in Battersea featuring Tim’s homemade cakes including his legendary brownies.

Giuseppe grew up in Bellaria, a seaside town in the Emilia Romagna region, an area of northern Italy renowned for ingredients such as Parma ham, Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh pasta. The region’s cuisine along with sourcing local seasonal ingredients, provides the inspiration for Al Molo’s menu. We spoke to Giuseppe to find out more.

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Who started you cooking?

My grandmother was a big influence. My grandparents had a fishing boat and a little garden where she grew beans and tomatoes. I remember her preparing salted fish for the winter and making jars of tomato sauce and bottling fruit. Both my grandmother and mother paid a lot of attention to what they cooked, even if it was a simple dish, this inspired me to become a chef.

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And the tastes of your childhood?

My favorite dish was Piadina – a type of bread from Emilia Romagna made with flour, water, salt and lard then filled with everything I liked inside.

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Tell me about your training?

Initially I studied at a private cookery and tourism school; then at 16 I became commis chef for the first Italian chef to be awarded a Michelin star in London, Stefano Cavallini. He introduced me to Italian fine dining.

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What inspires your menus at Al Molo

The seasons and what we can source locally as well as specific ingredients we import from Italy such as regional cheeses, cured meats and wine. We have a number of dishes from Emilia Romagna such as tagliatelle with hand cut beef Bolognese, calamari with courgette, aubergine timbale and our fine cured meat platter with pickled vegetables.

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What are your signature dishes?

One of my signature dishes is a crab and avocado mousse using Weymouth crab, another is black tagliolini with scallops and basil pesto. I am particularly proud of our hand cut beef Bolognese ragu and fresh homemade pasta. We have our own pasta making machine, very few restaurants make their own pasta on the premises.

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What flavour combinations excite your taste buds at the moment?

For our June menu we have been making vegetable and fruit jellies to accompany dishes. Goats’ cheese with a cucumber jelly is a particularly good combination.

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Anything else new you will be trying?

I’m about to purchase a couple of pieces of new equipment: the first will allow us to smoke our own fish and meat, the second to dry vegetables and fruit, which will be ideal for our autumn menu.

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What would be your perfect supper?

In the region where I am from there are some fabulous little family run restaurants high up in the hills. I would share the meal with my life partner Tim and my mum Elena. Simple food with family in beautiful surroundings is just the best!

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Al Molo Sample Menu

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Starters from £5.25

• Aubergine millefeuille with cherry tomato, mozzarella and basil pesto

• Pan fried scallops served with pea purée with mint and crispy pancetta

• Fine cured San Daniele ham served with pear poached in port

• Pot of mussels & veraci clams with garlic, parsley and white wine sauce

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Pasta & Risottos from £7.25

• Risotto with asparagus and saffron whisked with butter and parmesan

• Linguine with scallops and basil pesto “alla Genovese” and brandy

• Ricotta & spinach tortelloni in a sage butter sauce with rocket & Parmesan shavings

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Mains from £15.75

• Pan fried cod wrapped in pancetta with crushed baby new potatoes olives and capers

• Calves liver in butter and sage sauce with sweet potato mash

• Chicken supreme filled with ricotta & spinach, & basil mashed potatoes

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Al Molo, Pier Bandstand, The Esplanade, Weymouth, DT4 7RN; 01305 839888; almolo.co.uk

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