Here at CityEats, we wanted to get up close and personal with some of our favorite chefs. Going beyond what’s cooking in their restaurant kitchens, we want to know what’s going on at home – and what could be more intimate than scoping out someone’s refrigerator?
So, in this series, we’ll take a look into the most sacred of spaces of some of the most talked about food people in the city.
This week, Le Virtu’s talented Chef Joe Cicala let us take a look into his fridge.
So, Chef Joe, I’ve done a few of these ‘fridge raids’ now and I’m going to say that this is a huge departure from anyone else’s that we’ve seen so far. This right here is a true bachelor’s fridge. I’ll take it as you’re single?
“Yeah. On my day off, I don’t want to cook. I just order takeout. And I live on the same street as the restaurant.”
I see some old pizza down there. But I know you’ve told me how much you like Chinese. What’s your go-to Chinese takeout joint?
“China House on Passyunk. I like that its an open kitchen. You can see it’s really clean. And even thought its like two blocks away, I make them deliver.”
I know that place. Their teriyaki wings are delish. So, back to the fridge. I see my favorite PA Wine & Spirits wine in there – the montepulciano with the little wine branch. I know that that’s Le Virtu’s house red.
“We carry their white as well.”
Is that your favorite wine?
“My two favorite reds, one comes from Cataldi Madonna ”Toni,” we carry that, its actually in there also. It’s got a decent amount of oak. And it’s their high end. Another comes from a co-op, Cantina Frentana.”
I’m also noticing some real-deal lunchmeat in there: and not some supermarket special, either.
“It’s capicola. We make over 30 different kinds all at Le Virtu.”
Good wines, good meats how are you still single?
“I don’t get out much.”
So tell me (and all of the inquiring singles out there) you can cook Italian, but what’s your background, your heritage?
“My family is from Sicily but most of my cooking I did in Italy was from Campagna, along the Amalfi coast. And the owner [of Le Virtu] is from Abruzzo.”
So, how do you keep yourself from blending techniques?
“I don’t. I usually incorporate them in an Abruzese style.”
One last question. What’s with the squid ink?
Sometimes, if I do cook at home, I make some kind of pasta. I have a little handheld pasta maker.
Whoever nabs this chef is in for a lifetime of amazing dinners! Homemade pasta and squid ink. Well I’ll be! For the rest of us, we’ll have to find Joe at Le Virtu.
Thanks to the Chef for letting CityEats raid your fridge!