Meet Mike Buono, Chef/ Owner of Buono Osteria. This is episode 2 in an ongoing series of introductions to the faces and personalities of restaurants and other businesses on the Sunshine Coast feeding you and quenching your thirst.
Buono opened 2 years ago in what is without question one of the best pieces of restaurant real estate on the Sunshine Coast. Using reclaimed timbers from local sources, the room was transformed into what is now a mainstay of the food service landscape on the Coast.
|Prior to Buono, when did you start making a plan to do your own restaurant?|
I had reached my limit living and working as an executive chef in Vancouver when I began to look for other places on the BC Coast to live. I gave my self a three year goal to move to a new community and begin to establish myself personally and professionally. I took the Executive Chef position at the Rockwater Resort in secret cove and began to do my research on the coast.
Was it always going to be Italian food?
I spent most of my career cooking fine dining French and contemporary west coast style of cuisine because that was what I viewed as technically challenging and publicly respected. I also pushed away from Italian because I did not want to become the North American Italian stereotype I had worked and grown up seeing. After years a cooking in the city and abroad I began to see the trend of fine dining fading and casual more approachable restaurants doing well. I saw that the coast was lacking casual fine establishments and wanted to bring my style of cooking in a concept that was approachable but unique. And I knew that my investors would back me cooking the soup food I grew up eating. I began to get excited about bringing the Neapolitan traditions of woodfired pizza and fresh simple pasta dishes to the coast.
What is your absolute favourite ingredient?
I love food and I could never pick just one. But there is one thing and that’s salt. Salt transforms food by amplifying flavours. It was be used to cure, preserve, ferment and without it life would be bland.
I know you like camping. What are you eating around the campfire?
Jalapeño cheddar smokies
If you were to pick one cookbook that’s impacted your approach or made you want to have a go at everything in it, what would it be?
Anthony Bourdain kitchen confidential
Thomas Keller French laundry
What’s the most important kitchen tool in your arsenal?
Chef’s knife. Knife skills are the foundation of professional cooking. Everyone has to start there.
Of any place you’ve travelled, which location has had the greatest impact on your view of cooking?
Italy. It’s not hard to be impacted by a culture that revolves around eating. It’s really helped developed the core philosophy that I cook by. Bright food, forward flavours that are not over manipulated. Italians take fresh locally sourced ingredients and prepare them in the way that region does. Each region has their own twists and flavours based on what they find around them.
If you could do a stage/ cook with anyone in the world, where or who would it be?
Osteria Fransecana in Modena
Thomas Keller at the French Laundry
Is there one dish at Buono you’re most proud of?
I am most proud of our pizza. I opened this restaurant never making pizza in a commercial fashion let alone Neapolitan style pizza in a wood burning oven. I am completely self taught and developed the recipes and techniques we use from trial and error. People think that making pizza is simple and it all reality the concept is. Dough, sauce, cheese through it in and oven. Mastering hydration and yeast percentages to work with a specific heat in your specific oven is not. It’s taken some time but I think we are close to where I dreamed we would be. 16,000 pizzas later.
There’s a comet hurtling to the Earth; what’s your last meal?
Eggs, bacon, has browns, toast
My dads meatballs and pizza, My moms lasagna
Check out Buono Osteria at:
442 Marine Drive
Monday – 5:00 pm-late
Tuesday – Closed
Wednesday – Closed
Thursday – 5:00 pm-late
Friday – 5:00 pm- late
Saturday – 5:00 pm-late
Sunday – 5:00 pm-late