Chef Talk: Jeff Iovino

Four questions for the executive chef of Cafe io.

Chef Jeff Iovino recently closed his much-loved South Hills restaurant, Iovino’s, and replaced it with Café io, a more casual spot.   

Size of your cookbook collection:
I probably have one of the smaller collections because my techniques come from past experiences—things I see, things I taste. I have more fun figuring stuff out than looking them up. 

Food you’re likely to eat with your hands:
I have a bad habit—I eat everything with my hands. More things than with a fork.  Smoothies or milkshakes? Both! A.M. is for smoothies, and P.M. is for shakes—with booze.

Best meal ever:
Hard to pick. I’d have to say ones prepared by my chef friends—that stuff’s memorable, especially since friends show off when you’re with them.  Grilled or fried: Fried. I’ve probably fried things too much. But when something’s fried properly, I think there’s nothing better. 

Favorite Pittsburgh-centric dish:
City chicken—an old western Pennsylvania dish that most people know from their grandma. It was popular back in the day, when pork and veal were easier to obtain and sustain than chicken. Such a Pittsburgh dish—you’d have it on Sunday with spaghetti.  

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