Popolo in Italian means people & that’s whom this Sydney restaurant is built for. Italian-born Flavio Carnevale, 39 owner operator, has been serving up what he calls his 'childhood memories' to enthusiastic diners at Sydney's Popolo restaurant for the past four years.
Flavio is the son of a butcher & grandson of a farmer, in his hometown of Rapone, a small village in the Basilicata region of Southern Italy. His family’s small goods & butcher business are well known for their uncompromising organic goods as the sole supplier in his area & surrounding towns for over 30 years. "I think I knew I was different to the other kids when I realised I didn't see sheep, cows & chickens as pets, but as endless possibilities. Growing up my parents had both a farm & a small-goods business so I grew up in full view of the relationship one had with the other. In the evenings my father & I would go out at night to bring in the animals - we had around 200 sheep, 200 cows & 200 chickens at the time - & I remember being amazed that you could take these cows in the fields & transform them into what mama put on the table for dinner. It was endlessly fascinating to me.”
“In the back of my mind I kept thinking, 'How can I put my family history into the food & wine that I serve?' I had such a happy childhood that I dreamt of the idea that I could transfer some of these memories of my heritage to diners with a single bite. This is how the idea of Popolo in Sydney’s Rushcutters Bay started to form.”
Having many years’ experience working in renown awarded restaurants throughout Italy, Spain & Australia, Flavio has a strong desire to inspire a front of house & kitchen team who are passionate about all aspects of hospitality.
Flavio's passion for food & wine regularly finds him journeying back to his homeland to personally source new, exciting food & wine producers from more unique emerging regions of Southern Italy.
“Recipes from our region are steeped in hundreds of years of tradition & from the moment I learned to cook by my mother's side, I felt it was important to integrate them into whatever I was doing. Fortunately both my grandmothers lived nearby & while my mother's mother was more modern & taught me many of the newer techniques, my father's mother lived on a farm & often cooked on an old copper stove where you could taste the difference of an open flame. & with a mother who used to be a chef in Zurich for many years, it was like I had the holy trinity of Southern Italian cooking all around me.” My head chef Naomi & my passion & challenge is now producing traditional dishes but in our own, contemporary style.
From the people who produce, prepare & serve the food & wine to those who most importantly come to taste it - Popolo is about the people! Popolo’s food philosophy embodies the diversity of the Italian regions surrounding the Tyrrhenian Sea. In these regions there’s a stark simplicity to the pastas, meats, seafood & pizzas. Popolo offers an authentic & memorable dining experience with a total focus on exquisite produce & experienced service.