Last week, Short Order introduced the Inside Their Refrigerator series, taking you inside the refrigerators of Miami's top chefs. This week we spoke with chef Giorgio Rapicavoli of Eating House. Read more to find out about the foods he keeps in his fridge for late-night snacks after returning from the restaurant, and which items were made at home by his mother and grandmother.
New Times: The first thing that jumps out is your cheese drawer. Which of those are your favorites?
Giorgio Rapicavoli: By far my favorite is just Parmigiano. It's just a real classic. I love fontina. I use it a lot in cooking. It really melts well, and it's great to eat on its own. I find myself getting home late at night and not really wanting to eat, so I'll just have some cheese and crackers. The Laughing Cow cheeses are awesome too. They're the little triangle cheese. There's also prosciutto in there, and there's a ton of chorizos. Of course there's American cheese in there too. You can't really make a good grilled cheese without it. I'm not one of those who's going to make a Havarti and apple grilled cheese. I'm going to make it with white bread and butter in a pan. I'd rather have that at the end of the day than a snooty grilled cheese.
I see a lot of fruit preserves. What do you like to use them for?
My grandmother makes all of that stuff. So that's why they're all in old Smucker's jars and old containers with the label peeled off. The front one that you see -- that's filled with strawberry preserves. Raspberry and lemon, there's fig here, lemon curd. She makes all of it. She's super-Italian when it comes to that.
When did you last use the artichoke hearts?
I think my mom made a pizza once with them. But the good stuff is what you see in the Barilla jar. That's not really a sauce. Those are pickled eggplants. They take about a month to make. My mom made those, but my grandmother is the one who started it and taught her. It's eggplants with celery, and in the Tupperware, those are another type of eggplant. Those are cooked in a pan and pickled with mint. That's another Italian tradition. We always have all that stuff on deck. We've got an antipasto platter whenever you need it. You need a cheese and meat spread? On the fly, we've got it. If my aunt just comes over or somebody comes over really quickly, you whip out the serving board. My family is Italian fresh off the boat. We're not Italian-American. It was never red sauce for us. We're still a very traditional Italian family.
How often do you go through a pint of milk?
That's just milk for coffee and stuff. Sometimes I use it for tomato sauce. A little bit of cream cuts the natural acidity in the sauce.
And what are the sliced cucumber and onion for?
We love salads. We'll grill on Mondays on my day off. So it'll be steak and salad. I'm big on salad too late at night. I get home at 1:30 or 2 in the morning. Salad or cheese and crackers is a good meal for me.