Founded with a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013, Angelo started with his Omnivore Salt Blend that has since been endorsed by both Alice Waters and Michael Pollan as "indispensable". He has since expanded the line to include two salt blends and three condiments, all following his passion for fresh ingredients all made from scratch, influenced by his grandmother and Sicilian roots.
What Inspired You To Start Your Company?
To share food with my community, to cook with friends and show them how to craft anything from scratch is what my grandma taught me and what fulfill me the most. Omnivore is simply the most natural consequence of who I am and what I like to do.
Tell us about your products:
When entering a supermarket, I most of the time feel overwhelmed. I always found trouble with lots of choices. At first it sounds like a great deal, but in reality it means zero versatile, limited options, too much waste, too many jars in our pantry. Consumers have always had choices, but today options have, in my opinion, exploded beyond all reason. To get the best flavors, you only need a few sauces, a couple of seasonings, and great ingredients so this is exactly what I decided to do: 2 organic seasoning and 3 organic condiments. Nothing more than that.
To give you an example of how versatile our products are: Sicilia can be used as a spread, as a foundation for pasta sauce, soups, and dips, brushed on white or red meat, on fish, drizzled on eggs. It’s a to-go sauce with a smoked component, and natural sweetness from balsamic vinegar.
Our staple product Omnivore Salt, is a rub and a cooking salt. It gives umami to anything it touches and was endorsed by Michael Pollan and Alice Water as “indispensable”. All our products are Organic, Sugar Free, made with local ingredients (when possible).
What Does Being A Small-Batch “Artisan” Mean To You?
It means extra work, less profit, but higher quality, unique flavors, 100% traceability. All our recipes are inspired by our Italian tradition and by my grandmother Sebastiana’s cooking tricks (Omnivore Salt is a modern replica of a delicious seasonings she used to make while I was a kid). We do not follow food trands, we simply create flavors that would make our grandmas proud: we source the best quality ingredients and use, when possible, traditional techniques. Per instance, it takes one full day to craft 700 jars of Sicilia: all the ingredients are slow cooked. It would take you a full day on the stove to reach that kind of complexity and depth in flavor.
What Drew You To Food?
My Italian Heritage and my family, in particular my grandmother Sebastiana. She played a hugerole in my culinary education. With her and my dad, I grew up foraging, hunting, growing citrus and veggies.
Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?
Definitely my grandma Sebastiana: While foraging as a child in Sicily, I learned the wonder of herbs like the wild fennel that grew around my childhood home, and spices like the chili peppers my grandmother hung to dry in her kitchen—when mixed with salt, they give character to any food and make cooking simple.
What Products Are You Working On Now?
We are working on a sauce, a Sicilian pasta sauce.
Do You Have a Favorite Product?
I love all our creations for their extreme versatility. I think Sicilia and Vulcano Ginger both fully represent my cuisine: are tomato based, made with local organic ingredients, One, Sicilia, has a earthy flavor that reminds me of Sicily. The other, Vulcano Ginger, is anhomage to other cuisines, a fusion of ingredients that had influenced my cooking in the last 20 years.
Latest Ingredient Obsession?
Altough I love to experiment and sample new ingredients, I will always have an obsession for delicious, fresh tomatoes.
What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?
I had…a chicken soup with Vulcano Ginger. I have a cold.
What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product?
I don’t want to repeat myself, but definitely my grandma
What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other artisans?
Try not to compromise and be passionated about what you do. And of course, surround yourself with people who really believe in your vision and share your passions: without Veronica, our COO, and Beth our product developer and irreplaceable friend, Omnivore would not exist.
What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?
I love what LLano Seco and Rancho Gordo are doing, I love their stories, their values, their phenomenal flavors
If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be?
Oh…this is difficult. Probably grilled fish freshly caught off the Sicilian coast.
Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?
I will always love Chez Panisse and Alice’s passion for outstanding ingredients.
What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?
I hunt, forage, fish…all these with friends. I love to be surrounded by friends and nature.
What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?
I love Opera, Nino Rota (famous Fellini’s composer), depending on my mood I also like Cohen, Dylan…