Stephen Russell knows his way around the kitchen – from plating up ‘bush tucker’ in an open-air diner overlooking Uluru, to creating honest, creative dishes as head chef of luxe North Adelaide eatery Pippo. We sit down with the man himself at North Adelaide Village to find out more about his influences and, of course, the must-try menu.
tell us about your background
Before my relocation to Adelaide I had just finished a three-year stint at Ayers Rock Resort. Prior to this, I worked in world-class resorts in beautiful locations all around Australia.
pippo’s all-day menu is diverse, showcasing a mix of cuisines – how would you describe the menu and what was behind the blend of flavours?
Our latest menu is a great way to showcase a contemporary Australian cuisine at its finest. The wood-oven was purposely built to create a menu with an honest and rustic feel [and] a fusion of flavours, while maintaining the delicacy of preparation I’m known for. I believe the menu in an all-day venue such as ours comes down to delicious and honest food – a meal that leaves you feeling content when you leave.
how would you describe your cooking style?
Throughout my cooking career I have run kitchens in remote places. The benefit of travelling throughout Australia in my early years of cooking was that I was able to learn multiple cuisines and cook with a variety of native produce. My cooking style at Pippo is an extension of my travels and experiences.
The use of fresh, seasonal produce is a big deal for you…
Seasonal produce is huge for me. We have access to some of the best produce here in South Australia and I want to showcase it. It’s about maintaining the integrity of the flavours and not over complicating them. There is a fine line and delicate balance between the two.
pippo also prides itself on supporting local growers and suppliers – is this even more important now as we navigate our way out of covid?
It has never been so important. The hospitality industry was hit hard when the pandemic hit. It was restaurateurs that had to reinvent themselves and suppliers whom also felt the effects of this. South Australian suppliers have world-class farmlands and produce, so why would we go anywhere else but our own backyard? We know that South Australian farms provide to many Australian regions – I’ve had the pleasure to work with this produce abroad so I’m excited to have close access to it at Pippo.
the menu includes a ‘feed me’ option, where the chef chooses the dishes. What would I get if i ordered this?
The ‘feed me’ menu takes you on a tasteful culinary journey at Pippo with a selection from our entire menu. It’s a great option as we are able to help create a menu with balance, and therefore an experience to remember!
what is the must-try dish?
Well, I can say the whole menu is a must-try, however if I had to choose from the current menu the 12 hour slow-cooked roasted lamb shoulder with hummus, spiced chickpeas, yoghurt and flatbread. For our upcoming menu we are showcasing SA Squid in a serrano pepper and lime salsa fresca, finished with a pea coriander sauce. Also, a pearl-meat and crab ravioli with bush tomato consume, chard corn, karkalla and a burnt saffron sabayon.
Photography by Meaghan Coles