Pete DeRuvo Dishes On the Joys of Pasta and an Embarrassing Moment with James Beard Award-winner Johanne Killeen
Buchanan DeRuvo's all about the pig
6316 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
Pete DeRuvo is six degrees of bacon -- not the actor, the breakfast food. He's a whole pig-roasting, mortadella-making Italian chef who loves art, reading, travel, family and pork (lots and lots of pork) in all its yummy permutations. DeRuvo got his first job as a dishwasher and prep cook at a Jewish deli in Maryland, where he stayed on, working as hot line cook, while attending junior college, studying interior design and imagining himself Jack Tripper of Three's Company (a chef with two girlfriends).
When a co-worker and recent graduate of Johnson & Wales suggested he attend culinary school, DeRuvo enrolled (with financial aid), eventually becoming both teaching assistant and university fellow. DeRuvo helped open a new Johnson & Wales in Miami, where stayed there for two years before noodling around with The Shooting Gallery (a catering company whose clients were filmmakers) and eventually landing a gig at Al Forno in Rhode Island. It was the year chef-owners Johanne Killeen and George Germon won a James Beard Award and a learning experience DeRuvo will never forget.
Killeen was also a photographer, Germon a sculptor, and the two conveyed what they knew about aesthetics and balance to DeRuvo, who explains that it was here he learned that "food can be art too." He eventually left for California, where he worked with Michael Tusk and chef-owner Paul Bertolli at Oliveto'scafe in Oakland. But DeRuvo dreamed of an extended trip to Italy and after spending the summer making jams and jellies for Schramsberg Vineyards in Napa, he landed a job as caretaker of an olive grove in Tuscany for six months. He explored Italy for a year before heading back to Rhode Island and Al Forno for his second tour of duty. This time, he had a much deeper knowledge of Italian food to bring to the table.