Meet the Chef – Antonio Savino

Interview with Antonio Savino, Executive Chef of Opia 1541

November 2004 – Worcester native Antonio Savino is the executive chef at Opia 1541. Located at 1541 Main Street on the Worcester/ Leicester line, the 65-seat restaurant opened this August, serving contemporary, Nouveau-American cuisine.

The 21-year old chef opened Opia with his father Rocco Savino, his friend Sous Chef Stephen Worcester and Pastry Chef Jonathan Giddix.

College buddies Savino, Worcester and Giddix, all graduated together from the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont in 2001. Savino and Worcester’s friendship goes back even further to their classes at Worcester Vocational High School.

Although this is the first time the young chef has been in charge of a kitchen, Savino doesn’t lack experience. His resume includes stints at Worcester’s One Eleven Chop House on Shrewbury Street, Armadillo Depot on Park Avenue and The Corner Lunch on Lamartine Street.

We caught up to Savino recently to ask a few questions:

Pulse: How did you get into cooking?

Savino: Cooking is in the family. My grandfather, Frank Savino Sr., was a chef and he worked at the Worcester Country Club for 45 years.

P: What is your favorite meal to eat when you go out?

S: I really like fish or seafood.

P: What are you favorite flavors?

S: I’d have to say Northern Italian or Mediterranean flavors are my favorites. I also like rich cream-based foods.

P: What is your favorite spice?

S: I’d have to say nutmeg.

P: What are three things in your refrigerator at home?

S: Greens for salad, whole wheat bread and lots of leftovers from the restaurant.

P: What is the most embarrassing moment in your career?

S: Well, once I dropped a pan of hot, duck confit fat on my foot. It was more painful than anything.

P: What is your greatest accomplishment?

S: Opening Opia with my father and my friends at such a young age.

P: Who are three people you would like to invite to dinner?

S: Julia Child, [master chef Auguste] Escoffiere and Johnny Damon from the Boston Red Sox.

P: What is a secret you can share with us?

S: I’m a big Star Wars geek.

Opia is open for dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 11. Reservations are recommended; call (508) 795-7955.