Shop with a Chef: Gennaro Iorio, La Terrazza

For this first-generation Italian-Canadian, good food and wine are as essential to life as oxygen. As a child in Trail, he’d stand on a chair to make breakfast for his family; by 11, he’d convinced the local steak house to let him work for Cokes. By 13 he was cooking and serving, and at 16 he persuaded his parents to open a pizzeria. After many trips to Naples, where he learned advanced cooking skills from his zia, he enrolled at Dubrulle. Ten years ago, at 24, with partners Giulio Miceli and Iqbal Grewal, Iorio opened elegant, Old-World La Terrazza.

Since Momma bakes the biscotti and Papa makes the sausages, it’s no surprise that Iorio is partial to family operations. At Renzullo Food Market (1370 Nanaimo St., 604-255-9655) he says “Ciao” to Frank and Mirella while picking out olives and deli meats. At La Grotta del Formaggio (1791 Commercial Dr., 604-255-3911) he picks up Val Paradiso or Barbera Frantoia olive oil and a standing order of straight-outta-Italia buffalo bocconcini. Iorio gets provolone picante at Giuseppe’s Bread and Deli da Vito (3596 E. Hastings St., 604-299-2316), where “Vito and Chiewah Nardiello remind me of my relatives—hardworking and so kind.” At Happy Farm Market (6007 West Boulevard, 604-261-8753) “they always have lots of fresh basil and Italian parsley.”

For home cooking, Iorio, wife Katherine, and their two kids favour Tin Lee Market (260 E. Georgia St., 604-684-3155) and Loks Market (298 E. Georgia St., 604-688-8600) for Asian fruit like starfruit, pineapple, noi-na, and mangosteen.


Click here to watch a video of Gennaro shopping in his favourite east side Italian food shops.