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.