Cover Nancy Silverton

The brain behind the wildly popular Osteria Mozza shares with Tatler Dining her biggest culinary influences and what her last meal on earth would be like

Even before the sourdough making trend that dominated social media at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, celebrity chef Nancy Silverton was making artisanal breads at La Brea Bakery since it was founded in 1989. Offering sourdough baguettes and country white sourdough, among many others, it quickly became Los Angeles’ most successful bakery.

While Silverton sold the bakery in 2001, she managed to find new ways to feed gourmands by co-founding wildly popular Osteria Mozza with disgraced chef Mario Batali, who has since left the group. It is now managed by Silverton and restaurateur Joe Bastianich.

It was a serendipitous moment, considering Silverton fell in love with the delicious flavours of Italian cuisine after a holiday in Tuscany, Italy more than 30 years ago. So much that she bought a house in Italy and expanded her repertoire to include pastas and other classic Italian dishes.

Most of these dishes are now served at Osteria Mozza, which has reopened at Hilton Singapore Orchard this month. The menu, of course, includes a range of pizzas that use her exacting sourdough recipe to ensure a thin, crisp yet chewy pizza crust. While she is currently in Singapore for the reopening of her restaurant, we catch up with the culinary maestro to discuss her culinary influences and what her last meal would be like. 

Read more: New Restaurant Alert: Osteria Mozza Reopens in Singapore With a Brand New Look and Menu

Which chef has the biggest influence on you professionally to date?

​Nancy Silverton (NS): Jonathan Waxman. I like the simplicity, freshness and straightforward deliciousness of his cooking. I also admire the way he respects everyone in the kitchen, and I try to emulate that.

What is the book/movie/show/podcast that you think every chef should read/watch/hear?

NS: A great movie to watch is Cinema Paradiso. It flashes back to the star’s youth, and I think it's good for chefs to vividly recall their youth and the foods they loved to eat. And perhaps that would inspire them to make a new version of the foods they loved as a child.

Which chef would you most like to cook with—dead or alive?

NS: Fredy Girardet, Massimo Bottura, Franco Pepe and Dario Cecchini. 

What’s the best restaurant you ever ate at?

NS: Fredy Girardet’s restaurant in Crissier in the 1990s. 

Favourite food city/foodie travel destination?

NS: My little Umbrian town Panicale in the middle of Italy, which I use as a base to tour the whole country. I can drive to the heart of Florence in 100 minutes.

What ingredient can’t you live without?

NS: Butter and olive oil. I need two. 

It’s your last meal—what’s on the menu?

NS: My last meal would be at my home in Panicale with family and friends, and I’d have everyone involved in this meal. Some of my friends would drive to get cheeses, some of them would go to the butcher shop, some to the wine store, and some to the vegetable market. We’d grill fish, lamb, and vegetables. I’d make salads and pesto. After a few bottles of wine, someone would put on Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl and Eric Clapton's acoustic version of Layla, and everyone would sing along.

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