Over the past few years, Jonah has refined the prix fixe menu for our celebratory evenings. This year, at the top of his game, he has created an exquisite menu for our New Year’s Eve dinner. This year, we’re proud to show off our stunning new dining room, making for a stellar way to ring in the new year.
Jonah is particularly excited about a few of the items on the menu.
We’re serving delicious Acquerello Carnaroli rice in two different dishes: a savory risotto topped with truffles shaved table side and a sweet rice pudding served with roasted pineapple. This particular rice is grown in the Piedmont region of Italy by the Rondolino family, on a farm that receives only the purest water. The family is devoted to producing the highest quality rice possible — they have spent decades researching and experimenting with their growing method and aging process. From our visits there, we know this is a really wonderful family that makes a wonderful product.
The sea bass has also been spectacular this year. On New Year’s, we’re serving it with salsify crema, malted wheat berries, roast carrots, and old aceto balsamico to highlight the fish’s clean flavor and flaky texture. Sea bass makes for a dramatic presentation: its dark, crisp skin stands out against its pure white flesh. No wonder Jonah ranks sea bass as one of his top five fish.
For those who crave red meat for dinner, our Piedmontese beef Wellington is pretty perfect. This particular breed of cattle is renowned for its “double muscling,” which equals tender, juicy, and flavorful meat. Wrapped in pastry and served with Chanterelle mushrooms, creamed nettles, and black truffle sugo, our Wellington is simply a delicious dish.
No matter what you order, New Year’s Eve is certain to be unforgettable. Call 510-547-5356 to make your reservations for the early (5pm) or late (7:45pm) seating.
From GAYOT.com’s article:
“Deeply involved in the Bay area food scene, Rhodehamel has established relationships with local farmers and purveyors; his ongoing kitchen projects include a special aging cave for house-cured charcuterie, whole-animal dinners, handmade pastas made with specially milled local flours and unique heirloom tomatoes bred specifically for Oliveto’s kitchen.”
Between planning this week’s Truffle Dinners, creating a new menu on a daily basis, and averaging a 100-hour work week, not only does Chef Rhodehamel find the time to race his 2009 Nissan 370z but he also manages to win trophies doing it!
This past weekend, Chef and his STO Nissan were awarded the 2012 Rookie Driver of the Year as well as First Place in the Sunoco Regional Championship by the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) San Francisco Bay Area Chapter and its forty-five-thousand members.
A long standing project and labor of love, Chef Jonah has been working on this car for at least two years (often driving it to work without seats) but only started seriously racing it this past season.
The 2012 racing schedule ended in October with the Regional Championships where Chef placed 1st in his class. But never fear! Chef Rhodehamel plans to be back on the track again when the 2013 season starts up in March. So if you’ve always wanted to sponsor your local race car driver/insanely talented chef this is your chance! No really, he needs sponsors. Send an email if you’re interested. Maybe he’ll name a salumi after you.
The kitchen was excited to see a 60 pound Pacific Giant octopus arrive today from Tom Worthington at Monterey Fish. It was caught by chance in a crab trap off the coast of Half Moon Bay. Most octopus comes from abroad or the East Coast so this is a pretty rare opportunity to try a truly local and wild seafood. Oliveto chef Jonah Rhodehamel likes the texture of octopus, “slightly chewy … firm yet with a bite to it” and finds it to be “an interesting protein — pretty different from anything else.”
The octopus will be available through the weekend.
On the menu tonight, April 25, will be grilled octopus with artichoke puree, grilled ramps and watercress
Please join us!
Friday, April 20, 2012
Chef Marco Forneris of Lalibera, Alba, and Chef Jonah Rhodehamel of Oliveto create a collaborative tasting menu of the Langhe — a dinner of nine samplings of essential flavors of the Piedmont.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Produttori del Barbaresco’s Aldo Vacca will pair some of his most exceptional vintages with a tasting menu of Marco’s and Jonah’s Piedmontese menu. Piedmontese a la carte menu also available throughout the dining room.
As our event gets closer, and more ideas express themselves over the internet among the chefs (Pastry Chef Jenny Raven has joined Marco and Jonah with an opinion and query about the Piemontese bunet), a postable, but not-quite-ready-for-prime-time, menu is taking form. Added to the below menu will be the collaborative dishes Jonah and Marco come up with once Marco arrives.
(Preliminary) Menu may include:
And here’s the e-mail Pastry Chef Jenny Raven sent:
I am so glad to hear of your return to California! . . . I have recently been annoyed by all of the fusion-y takes on the Piemontese bunet al cioccolato that are currently trendy in San Francisco, and would love to serve a really authentic one while you are here. I ate a few in the region some years past, and do what I hope is an accurate version, but was wondering if you would honor me with your recipe for the dish.
Jenny Raven, Pastry Chef
I still remember very well our meeting in Oliveto, you with your child in your arms… I tried to dig deeply into the history of bunet and I’m pretty sure that this recipe is very close… I mean this Langa dessert was not very sweet and of course with a strong taste of hazelnut. I remember that my grandmother used to cook it in the bain-marie, finish it covered with foil and with hot ashes just to have the crispy top!!!! Wow, it was great-still soft and never dry!
More about Chef Marco Forneris from Aldo Vacca:
“Marco was born and raised in Borgo San Dalmazzo at the feet of the Piemonte Maritime Alps. He grew up as a young chef in the Langhe region. Both areas of Piemonte played an important part in shaping his personality and skills as a chef. He has deep knowledge of both products and recipes from the Alps (the herbs, beef, cheeses) and from the hillside (vegetables, truffles, small animals such as rabbit, chicken, pheasant, wine, olive oil, etc.).
This wide and deep experience meets with his brilliant style, creative but not crazy, modern but with deep roots in tradition, with great knowledge and passion for the food and the wines of the region. His cooking reflects his personality, humble yet confident.
I do believe that Lalibera, the restaurant that Marco opened 15 years ago, is still nowadays the best dining experience in Alba.”
Friday, April 20, 2012:
Piedmontese Tasting menu
Great vintage Produttori del Barbaresco wines by the glass, 1/2 glass, & bottle
Saturday, April 21, 2012:
9-course tasting menu paired with Produttori del Barbaresco vintages
from ’79, ’85, ’90, ’95, ’99, ‘2001
á la carte Piedmontese menu
Please join us!
On Sunday, June 26th, Chef Jonah will join Fred Hempel at his farm in Sunol, CA to take part in the 2011 Outstanding in the Field tour.
This should be a blast for the obvious reasons: awesome food, breathtaking location, and great company. But it will also be a unique presentation of a close and truly collaborative relationship between a chef and a farmer.
Jonah’s allegiance to Fred’s produce was made immediately clear when he arrived at Oliveto in November 2010 and soon after flooded the restaurant with Fred’s spectacular winter squashes. Over the last six months Fred has become an invaluable resource to both Oliveto and Community Grains. His passion and extensive plant biology knowledge has made seed selection and plant breeding an exciting adventure, and only deepened our knowledge of the food we serve.
With both Chef Jonah Rhodehamel and Fred Hempel on hand, this event will be a great way to kick off the beginning of summer. See you there!
Executive Chef Jonah Rhodehamel has been at the helm of the Oliveto kitchen since November 2010. It is amazing to us how much has changed at Oliveto over these last six months. First off, Chef Rhodehamel (and all of his crew) has been working like crazy. Basically, the level of energy and focus has been turned up to eleven.
But most important, we are extremely proud of the food we are serving. Our salumi has never been better. Same goes for our pizza. The whole-animal program is expanding into new relationships with ranchers raising goat and sheep. We’ve been introduced to farmers Jonah has relationships with, including our new BFF Fred Hempel, who is growing some amazing things on his farm in Sunol, CA.
There is a seriousness, and a precision that Chef Jonah brings to Oliveto but there is also a sly sense of humor, a wry wit, and the skills of a true leader. Anyway, that’s a long way of saying we’re happy to see that all of this was apparent to Michael Bauer on his most recent visit. It was so very nice for our kitchen to be acknowledged for all the hard work that they do.
Sunday before last, December 5, Jonah Rhodehamel became Oliveto’s chef. A change of chef would be a big deal for any restaurant, but perhaps for us it’s a bit bigger. In a restaurant where vitality and curiosity are so highly valued, and with so many ideas and so much talent emerging from Oliveto over the years, how we go forward is crucial. Since we announced our parting with Paul Canales, our friend for fifteen years and chef for five, we have been asked for the inside story by many. It does probably come down to Paul’s becoming interested in other genres of cooking and other interests, and our remaining commitment to dishes that embrace the fundamental character of Italian cooking.
So, Maggie and I took several months to look for an exceptional cook — a vital, talented, and dedicated chef who could continue our tradition of learning and teaching, producing delicious food, collaborating, and, in a particular way, motivated by flavor, innovating. There were many talented chefs available, and we decided on Chef Jonah Rhodehamel. Here’s why: He is truly passionate about the food we love, he’s smart and a very good cook, and he’s a straight shooter.
Previously Chef Rhodehamel held sous chef positions at La Folie (under Chef Roland Passot), Zinnia (under Chef Sean O’Brien), and Americano Restaurant and Hotel Vitale (under Chef Kory Stewart); and tournant at Quince (under Oliveto alum Chef Mike Tusk). Jonah has been deeply involved in the Bay Area food scene since 2004, and is bringing energy, focus, and a thoughtful perfectionism to the restaurant kitchen.
Here’s what you can expect:
house-made pastas made with local flours specially milled, served with properly made ragùs, sugos, bolognesse, and other regional Italian sauces using old methods.
the best meats, fire-roasted, served simply; exquisite fish
expanded selection of brisk salads, savory antipasti, and piquant vegetables
a kitchen that creates, develops, and innovates by learning, thoroughly pursuing traditional Italian regional cooking, Italian butchering, growing methods, varieties of fruits, vegetables, and animals; preserving, curing, etc.; soils; milling and bread and pasta making; etc.
We, of course, remain committed to only the best-raised products.
Please come and meet our new Chef, Jonah Rhodehamel.