MOUNT ZERO HERO | Adam Racina, La Pinta

March 21, 2024

The website harks, “We love change,” and a chalkboard menu gives foundation to this statement. At the core of the popular local restaurant, La Pinta in Reservoir, is the love of whatever produce may be looking good on any particular day and chef/owner Adam Racina making it delicious for his guests.

Adam Racina from La Pinta.

Since it opened in 2020 (and yep, straight into the pandemic), La Pinta has garnered a strong, loyal following. Racina understands the importance of a good local restaurant – the years of lockdown in Melbourne gave rise to the need for a good local, too – and his cooking is intelligent, thoughtful and geared towards the seasons. 

His commitment to quality and locality means we’re thrilled to have him on board as this month’s Mount Zero Hero! 

Adam – who is ex-Napier Quarter, Pinotta and Epocha – discovered Mount Zero and our products over the years at these venues while learning his craft. 

“I was at Epocha ten years ago and I remember working with the products then,” he says.

At La Pinta, our olives are a constant, “Definitely the olives, they’re always on the menu, there’s no rival to taste, quality and price on the market,” he says. 

You can also find our olives on the menu and the pantry shelf of their neighbouring café/grocer and florist, Sardinas. 

Adam is a big fan of Mount Zero grains, too. “The grains; the freekah is amazing!” he says. 

The dish Adam is sharing with us this month was on the menu at La Pinta over the summer using Mount Zero freekeh and the farro. It’s made like a risotto with barley as well and finished with corn, brown butter, cheese and basil.

“It was a winner!” says Adam, who adds that it can be adapted to any season with different herbs if basil is unavailable. 

“It’s easy to create at home and it’s delicious,” he says, “the texture of the freekeh and corn are quite similar, they’re chewy in a good way.” 

Adam has adapted the recipe for home cooking and says you don’t have to have it with brown butter, “but it tastes so good!”

The Fast Five

1. If you weren’t a chef, what would you be doing?  

Probably a cheesemaker or charcuterie maker, definitely making something… 

2. Last place you dined out? 

Manze, North Melbourne

3. What's your favourite Victorian restaurant? 

I don't have a favourite restaurant, there are so many restaurants offering something different for a different mood or occasion and I like to keep trying new places all the time.

4. Favourite season/s of the year for produce? 

Right now, the abundance of late summer veg to pickle and preserve that rolls into autumn is by far my favourite time to eat and cook. 

5. Do you have any special projects scheduled for this year or beyond? 

I'd like to continue to expand our cheese and charcuterie programs learning more about these slow food techniques that have been around for generations.

Article by Hilary McNevin