Adam Pizzini has brought his celebrated Rinaldo’s Italian restaurant from the bush into town, but his menu reflects the wild environment as much as ever.

Story By Sheridan Rogers

When chef Adam Pizzini moved his restaurant last year from the King Valley in north-east Victoria to Wangaratta, 50 kilometres north-west, little could he have guessed how warmly he’d be embraced. “We’ve been full every night since opening,” Adam says. “Wangaratta was very excited by our arrival.”
His decision to move was based on the rural city’s emerging status as a major destination for food, wine, art and culture. “We have many talented and creative people working and training in the hospitality industry,” Adam says. “Add to the mix the city’s thriving artistic community, and state-of-the-art venues such as the new Performing Arts Centre, and it’s no wonder that Wangaratta has become a destination in its own right.”
Adam ran Rinaldo’s in the King Valley for three-and-a-half years before relocating from the sleepy green valley into town. His unique style of modern Italian cooking has been much celebrated in the region and the new restaurant maintains its strong connection to its rural roots.
Rinaldo’s Casa Cucina (which means ‘home kitchen’ in Italian) offers the buzz and bravura of a rustic dining hall and is an open invitation for families and friends to gather and celebrate life through food, without the need for an occasion. The menu shifts according to the four distinct seasons of the region, capitalising on the flavours and wines that make this unique part of the world a foodie’s nirvana. Plates come to the table with generous servings of the freshest of fare, served directly from an open and lively kitchen. “We encourage interactivity with the staff,” Adam says. “In other words, don’t be afraid to eat with your fingers and suck the meat from the bones.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #69

Outback Magazine: Feb/Mar 2010