Angelina Adamo

The chef and owner of Midlands-based Tutto Apposto, Angelina Adamo, is the brains behind the new dining concept at Birmingham Hippodrome’s pre-show experience, the Circle Lounge. Her ethos is to ensure ‘everything is as it should be – tuttoAPPOSTO’

Image credit: Picture by Ossie Goldhill

Tell us about your cooking

I always dreamed of working in three Michelin-starred restaurants but came to terms with the fact it wasn’t making my heart happy. It taught me so much, but food that gives you a hug and seasonal, quality ingredients that you don’t have to mess around with, makes me happy.

How did you become a chef?

I did well at school but remember teachers being disappointed about my career choice, saying I was going to waste all my hard work. To prove them wrong, I started my training at University College Birmingham. My first job was in a sports bar flipping burgers and steaks 300 times a night – at least it taught me how to cook a steak, wash up fast and listen in service. I worked in a big hotel under head chef Charlotte Foster, who I’ll always be grateful for, before landing a job at Harvey Nichols and then going to work in Yorkshire and being asked to join the junior culinary team for England. The run-through kitchen was in Birmingham, where Leo Kattou of Simpsons restaurant offered me a job. Chef Luke Tipping, Andreas Antona, Leo and everyone who worked there are real influences.

What do you eat at home?

After an 18-hour shift, it’s either beans on toast with the plastic sausages and the most mature cheddar going, or a plate of momma’s finest pasta that still gets left in the microwave for me!

Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum?

Besides my Nonna, it’s Italian three Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura. The guy is a legend. Best in Brum? If I really have to go there, the pizza chef at Otto’s has my heart. The sous chef nick-named ‘Cheese’ at Purnells cooks meat and fish like I’ve never seen – and he even texts me the greatest dish ideas at 3am!

Share a cooking tip

There’s power in resting meat, and fish and garlic is queen. Also, experiment. It’s okay to close the recipe book and do what you feel is right.

What was your favourite food as a kid?

Mom’s amazing picnics. We’d make a den in the garden and enjoy the best charcuterie, cheeses, scotch eggs and even those horrific processed sea food sticks! And dad would make the biggest Cadbury’s hot chocolate with a custard cream.

Food heaven and food hell?

Heaven is spaghetti vongole and a wedge of tiramisu or a Greek souvlaki, Greek salad, and a chunk of watermelon. As for hell, I am a drama queen with spice, so anything hot and spicy is no-go.

What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?

Alex Claridge from the Wilderness restaurant gave me ants on my ice cream… delicious in all honesty!

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?

A glass blower. I think it’s incredible and if cheffing all goes pete-tong, maybe I’ll give it a shot.

Give us a nice, easy recipe our readers can make at home using some of those lingering items in the store cupboard

Everyone’s got dried pasta, a bit of cheese and a pepper grinder. Cacio Pepe is one of my favourite dishes. Boil your pasta, drain and save two ladles of the water. Emulsify Parmesan off the heat to make a creamy sauce. Add as much pepper as you want. If you’ve got a lemon, grate and squeeze that in there and go and pour yourself a glass of Amerone.

Tutto Apposto at the Circle Lounge, Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, Southside, Birmingham B5 4TB.