Whenever we travel here at The New Potato, knowing there’s the Soho House in the city we’re in is like having a perpetual lifeline on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Chef Andrea Cavaliere oversees all Soho House properties in the U.S. — making him the gatekeeper of one of our favorite hangouts. Not only does this exclusive members-only club have an aesthetic we’re addicted to, shows we love, and cocktails we adore – but the food happens to be a constant go-to for us. So, Cavaliere was a guy we simply had to talk to; here’s what he recommends…
What the Chef Recommends
Are you constantly making changes? How so?
"I get inspired by various things; different cuisines in different cities, seasonality, recommendations from clients and customers, ideas from other chefs and exchanging recipes. I think it is very important to constantly evolve and not only keep challenging myself, but also appeal to the demands of my customers and stay relevant in this competitive industry."
What’s special about your menu?
"At Cecconi’s, for example, we offer a cicchetti menu (authentic Venetian tapas). In Miami, we have a crudo section in our menu, which offers anything from ceviche and tartare to carpaccio and tiradito. We also are proud to have a wood-oven and a charcoal-grill section in most of our restaurants, which adds flavor and authenticity to our dishes. It really helps enhance the various flavors without overseasoning."
How do your travels and experiences play into the restaurants?
"My travel experiences play a major factor in my culinary growth, as they allow me not only to try different restaurants and travel to different cities, but also to get to meet new chefs and experiment with unique approaches to cooking."
Your go-to recipe when cooking outside the restaurant for family and friends…
"My go-to is usually to bake a dish, so I can spend more time entertaining rather than cooking. While there may be a lot of preparation beforehand, once my guests arrive, I can pop it into the oven and spend more time with them rather than behind the stove. The last time I had company over, I made a salted cod, bacalao, which is a great Portuguese baked dish with potatoes, olives, tomatoes and leeks. On the other hand, I sometimes like to show off my skills with a great BBQ and only use olive wood for my grill. It really adds a unique flavor and also helps keep my friends coming around!"
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Can you share some menu favorites from Soho House?
"One of our favorites is the hamachi with radish, ginger and tomatillo. We are also known for our wood-oven-baked pizzas, which are the best in every city in my opinion. And, of course, I can’t forget about our meatballs!"
What are your favorite cities to travel for food? What spots do you go to there?
"Hands down, San Francisco, London, and Chicago. My recent favorite in San Francisco is State Bird Provisions; I had the quail, and it was perfection. We are opening up a new location soon in Chicago, so I’ve been spending quite a lot of time there exploring the city, especially The Purple Pig and Publican Quality Meats. When I’m back in the hometown of the original Soho House [in London], I always make sure I hit up St. John (I try to find an excuse to go during hunting season, so I can try the grouse)."
Where do you go for inspiration?
"For seasonal ingredients, I like to roam the farmers' market to get inspired. I like talking to the local farmers and have the ingredients inspire recipe ideas. Local butcher shops and cheese stores are also a good go-to for me."
Where would you like to travel for inspiration that you haven’t been to yet?
What wines go best with your menu?
"Barolo, barbera, and dolcetto from my home region of Piedmont, Italy. I am biased, because I grew up with these wines."
The perfect way to end a meal at Soho House…
"Dessert! Especially our chocolate-flourless cake or our house-made gelatos."
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Is there anything present in all your dishes that screams “Andrea?”
"I’m drawn to colorful foods, so my plates look delicious without any decoration or plating 'tricks.'"
What ingredients couldn’t you live without in your cooking?
"Extra-virgin olive oil and white truffles during the season."
What don’t people order on the menu enough, that they should order more often…
"My sardine special, the bone marrow, and sweetbreads — they either love it, or they’re afraid of it and don’t order it."
And most importantly…how do you feel about new potatoes?
"Are you a vegetable or a fruit?"