A taste of Tuscany with Sabrina Amodeo

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Limerick-based businesswoman and mother of two, Sabrina Amodeo, has always aspired to do something big. And she has certainly achieved just that since moving to Ireland in 1999, opening three restaurants, starting a food-catering business, and founding Amodeo dressings, a line of salad dressings and balsamic vinegars based on an old family recipe – all while raising two kids. As a family what was the inspiration for you to get into the food industry? The most incredible memories of my parents cooking for us as children. Meal time was the best part of the day! My parents, grandparents and the owner of a hotel we used stay in while skiing, inspired my total and utter passion for good, tasty food. Did you always want to be a Restaurant owner and have your girls directly involved in the business? Not at all, marketing was always my number one interest. Moving to Ireland made me change gears. My mother Mariarosa Gennaro was in Ireland with me at the time and we always talked about combining her amazing cooking skills with my business interest. I am so glad we did! The girls are an integral part of the restaurants. Their contribution, input and involvement is essential. We call ourselves the Tre Porcellini, three little pigs because we love our food so much.

What does your daily role as Executive Chef/Restaurant Owner entail? I have my finger in every pie! Marketing, operations, sales, HR, legal, finance, Health & Safety, business development for Amodeo Dressing and all three Tuscanys. Life is busy! How long have you been working at Tuscany and what brought you there? I have been running Tuscany since 2003. Where have the last 15 years gone? Love brought me to beautiful Ireland. What distinguishes Tuscany from other restaurants? Using fresh, quality ingredients, creating delicious yet simple dishes, huge focus on customer service, attention to detail, a team who truly cares in a stunning environment and comfortable atmosphere. Why do you think the three Tuscany restaurants are becoming such a popular culinary destination?

We strive to create the Tuscany experience.

What is the favourite food of your daughters (truthfully, without upsetting Mum), and what dish do you like to order when you dine out? Taines creates her own pizza with buffalo mozzarella, red peppers and rocket and the chocolate fondante. Maxine loves the cannelloni and tiramisu. They are both vegetarian and input greatly on menus.

Have they a desire for their entrepreneurial path, having watched Mum for so many years? They both have incredible focus supported by drive. They are such strong woman and know they can achieve anything they set their minds to. How has the Irish food industry changed in recent years? People have become more adventurous with their palates and conscious of what is in their food and where it comes from. Where do you source your produce? We focus on local where possible and being Italian and Mediterranean, we would also use Italian produce. Who has been the most famous diner that you have had in Tuscany? Now that would be telling! We enjoy the company of a good few celebrities but they enjoy their anonymity. What do you think the future holds for the Irish food industry?

Healthier lifestyles, more conscious eaters and educating our children about the importance of a good diet. What advice would you give to aspiring young restaurant entrepreneurs? The restaurant industry requires an enormous amount of resilience, perseverance, determination, commitment and bloody hard work. But if that is your unquestionable passion, then go for it with everything you have and more. It is such great fun, you will make the most amazing friends and it will be a rewarding and satisfying journey.

Sabrina’s salad dressing and balsamic vinegar can now be found in Supervalu stores. For more information, visit www.tuscany.ie or www. amodeodressing.com.