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.
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.