il Barone Ristorante
- Wild boar wellington
CA-73 and merge onto Bristol. Turn left on Birch, right on Corinthian and we arrive. Where the heck are we anyways… Newport? Oh, there it is. See the sign, knucklehead? I say to myself. Bright red script, Il Barone Ristorante. What an interesting place to set up shop.
We enter into an elegant dining room and pass a simple but stocked spirits area. A peaceful feeling comes over me as I’m hugged and greeted by Donatella, Franco’s wife, then the creator of art himself, Franco! Soft paint with art on the walls, white linens under glasses stuffed with napkins standing at attention before us. Do I have to behave, Dona? No Bob, you’re at home. Now that’s cool.
When did you know that food had power? Food had power when people started to enjoy it, when they come in and say “can I have what I had last week?” That’s when I started to understand that you can really make people happy and keep coming back. That’s a power.
What are your favorite tools in the kitchen? Well, of course you have to have a sharp knife, but my favorite tool is the spatula. I work a lot with the grill. I cook the fish and the meat, so for me the spatula is the special tool for me. When the guy comes in to sharpen the knives I have him sharpen it too.
When did food capture you? It still captures me. It started a long time ago. I really got into food when I met my wife. Her mom and family are into food, so it’s like a switch [Franco snaps his fingers] I thought… I can be good. Still my mother-in-law inspires me. She cooks the old way. So after going home I come to the kitchen here and change a few things to make it my way. Does your mother ever come in and say, ‘this tastes like my…’ Of course, yes, she knows a lot of them. Many of my recipes are based on what she has done. For example the ravioli and the sausage are her recipes.
Do you take risks in your cooking? Risks as in trying new things? Yes I do, but I try it myself first and if it passes the test or my wife’s and if we think it’s good, we go for it. There is a lot of stuff I do that way. If you don’t take a risk, you are never going to do anything exciting for people. People like excitement. This dish we’re making today was a risk. I thought about my beef wellington and why shouldn’t I change the beef to wild boar tenderloin and make it the Italian way? It really, really turned out to be a good thing. The risk paid off.
Wild boar wellington
Hey folks. We shot Franco before we began requiring chefs to pick a recipe they're OK with sharing... Of course he would pick something top secret!
Look through the photos again if you want to make it, that should get you about 80% of the way there. You can wing the last 20...