Inside the kitchen of Kyle Rindinella, co–executive chef at Enoteca Sociale
Stocked with homemade tomato sauce, limited-run olive oil and a Nespresso machine
Some of Kyle Rindinella’s earliest memories involve falling asleep on restaurant banquettes, surrounded by family and friends who were feasting late into the night. The co–executive chef at Enoteca Sociale spent most of his childhood living just outside of Milan, where dining out and cooking were central to his family’s traditions. “When we get together, the question is always: what are we doing for dinner?” says Rindinella.
Rindinella joined the Enoteca Sociale team as chef de cuisine in 2017, leading the restaurant into its Bib Gourmand era (it received the Michelin award in 2022) and cementing its reputation as a Dundas West mainstay. He then helped launch its splashy sister restaurant, Ristorante Sociale, in the summer of 2023. Rindinella can still be found behind the pass at Enoteca five or six nights a week, often experimenting with the new dishes that keep diners coming back after 13 years of business. At home, however, his family is content with a lineup of tried-and-true recipes they cook on repeat.
Rindinella and his wife, Kristin, are systematic with their proteins, usually buying and cooking them in bulk to minimize both the family’s grocery bill and their time spent in the kitchen. Braised oxtail may be served over polenta on Monday, then become part of Tuesday’s pasta sauce or Wednesday’s soup. The family does much of their grocery shopping at Costco (the best bang for your buck), but they also hit up Fiesta Farms for fresh veggies and Italian grocer Lady York Foods for hard-to-find pasta shapes and other niche-but-necessary items (like Pan di Stelle cookies).
“We have a bit of a problem,” Rindinella says of the stacks of cheese and charcuterie in his fridge. He collects from an eclectic mix of stores, everywhere from specialty shops like International Cheese and Cheese Boutique to the ever-reliable Costco (just try finding a cheaper parmigiano). There are also figs (for wrapping in prosciutto as a pre-dinner snack), all the ingredients for a Greek salad (which his four-year-old daughter, Sofia, would eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, if permitted) and white anchovies (for adding to salads and pasta sauces or enjoying on top of good bread). Conestoga’s Free Run Omega-3 is Rindinella’s egg of choice. He also uses them at his restaurants because their deep-orange yolks add colour to scratch-made pasta.
A bottle of Abandoned Grove olive oil is another crossover staple. True to its name, the brand works to revive abandoned Italian olive groves and promote sustainable olive oil production. “I think it’s the best and freshest olive oil you can get in Toronto,” says Rindinella. Since it’s produced in limited batches, at the restaurant Abandoned Grove is reserved for garnishing steaks. Rindinella admits to “going a little crazy” with it at home, though, using it for just about anything.
Whole olives and pistachios are family-wide snacking favourites and mainstays in Rindinella’s pantry. He also keeps a tube of Rio Mare tuna pâté on hand for mixing into dressings or whipping up quick tonnato sauces. Pasta is noticeably absent—because Rindinella’s collection is extensive enough to require overflow space. It’s earned a separate drawer in their adjoining living room. He often has upward of 15 different shapes locked and loaded, but his personal favourite is a simple spaghetti. “It’s so versatile,” he says.
Rindinella is practical about his coffee routine (in spite of the judgment from foodie friends), relying on a humble Nespresso machine. “At the end of the day, I know I’m going to have the exact same, consistent coffee at home,” he says. He also prefers the simplicity of the Nespresso to messing around with coffee grinders and delicate espresso equipment.
Jarring this homemade tomato sauce is a beloved yearly tradition for Rindinella’s extended family. His aunt sources between 20 and 25 bushels of fresh tomatoes in late August or early September, and the Rindinellas spend a day cooking them down into sauce, stopping only to eat. Everyone takes home their share at the end, with Rindinella using his annual allotment to make everything from soup to lasagna.
The Rindinella family’s multigenerational passion for cooking is also evident in his cookbook collection, which includes a dog-eared copy of The Good Housekeeping Cookbook that was passed down by his grandmother. This is only a third of his library—the rest is stored in the garage. The subject matter skews Italian, including Giorgio Locatelli’s Made in Italy. It was the first cookbook Rindinella ever bought. “It really opened my eyes to how much cooking can change when you travel just five kilometres in Italy,” he says.
A series of complete dinnerware sets are another inheritance from Rindinella’s grandparents. They each have around 18 pieces, so he tends to bust them out when hosting big groups.
If there was any question about the depth of Rindinella’s love for restaurants, his kitchen walls provide a definite answer. They feature framed mementos from some of his most-loved meals. There’s a receipt from All’Osteria Bottega in Bologna (hand-written on a scrap of paper) and menus from Chicago’s Alinea and Toronto’s Edulis (where he dines every year for his birthday).
Rindinella’s liquor collection is all about amaro. The chef typically brings home new bottles whenever he visits Italy (most recently, Amaro San Simone, which Rindinella says is “all the rage” in the boot right now but almost impossible to find in Canada). Spritzes made with various amari, Cynar, Campari or other bitter liqueurs are his default drink. He also has a rare hand-painted label of his favourite wine: a 1995 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo. His parents recently gifted bottles from the same brand to Rindinella and his siblings, commemorating their birth years. He’s hoping to figure out how to remove and preserve the label one day.