Giacomo Pastore – The Outdoor Chef
I met Giacomo Pastore, the Outdoor Chef of Hanover, VA, a few months ago. Giacomo had reached out to me to ask about our heritage breed, pastured pork.
Giacomo and I quickly found that we have a lot in common. We are both passionate about great food. Also, we both quit our perfectly good, well paying jobs to pursue that passion. Now we are both working hard to turn that passion for food into a real living for our families.
When I asked Giacomo if I could interview him, he not only said yes, but he also invited me to his house for a meal! That was an offer that I could not refuse! Honestly, I think I got the better end of the deal…
For Giacomo, his passion means cooking.
Giacomo is serious about cooking. He has the most amazing outdoor kitchen where he prepares food daily. His family seems accustomed to hiking between the house and the kitchen to find a meal.
On one side is a large wood burning cook stove where bread is baked, and anything that needs stovetop cooking is prepared.
Another side is home to the large grill, and, well, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what that’s for!
The smoker resides outside. I think this is Giacomo’s pride and joy. He told me that the secret to great flavor is to smoke with wood and not with electric.
And then there is his food truck, which of course, has a full kitchen inside. He’s all set up to take his cooking on the road! The Outdoor Chef caters, cooks for events, and travels to teach classes on cooking.
After the tour, Giacomo served me macaroni and cheese, smoked sausage, rice pilaf, smoked chicken, smoked salmon, grilled vegetables, home made bread and more. I left there stuffed with good food, happy with good conversation and excited about the possibilities of partnering with Giacomo and his wife Alice.
While we ate, I asked a few questions:
Me: Where did you learn to cook?
Giacomo: “From my mom and dad and my grandmother.” He recalled grilling steaks, prime rib, turkey and lamb with his father over a wood fire.
He told me that someone once gave him a whole raw ham and asked him to cook it. He had never cooked a ham before. After 24 hours of slow cooking he was disgusted with the way it looked. His dad took a taste and reported that it was the best BBQ he had ever eaten.
Giacomo thought to himself, “If I can do this with a ham, what can I do with some ribs?”
Since then, Giacomo has not stopped experimenting. He’s cooked on tractor trailer rims and smoked in flower pots. You name it and he’s cooked in it!
Me: What do you look for when purchasing meats?
Giacomo: “A good farmer. Fresh Local, grass fed, free range, humane treatment.”
Me: Why do you prefer pork from heritage breed pigs?
Giacomo: “Because it’s tender and it has the right amount of fat and flavor.”
Me: Is price a factor when purchasing meats?
Giacomo: “Not Really.”
Me: Is quality more important than price?
Giacomo: “The quality I’m willing to pay for. If price was a concern I’d go to the grocery store.”
Where you can find the Outdoor Chef:
First and foremost, you can find the Outdoor Chef in my freezers! Ok, he’s not really in the freezer, but I have his Macaroni and Cheese and Minestrone Soup (vegetarian) in my freezer! These heat and eat meals are ready for you to purchase either in the store or online for Chuck Wagon Delivery.
You can also find Giacomo online at https://www.theoutdoorchefva.com/
Follow him on Facebook by clicking here.