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Mountain House Spotlight: Chef Roberto Rose and The Byron Inn Cafe!

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If you’re a Mountain House resident, then you’ve probably seen The Byron Inn Cafe located down the road on Byron Street. You’ve probably even popped in for a bite and then came back for more! But, how much do you know about the head chef and owner of said cafe? Native to Napoli, Italy, Roberto Rose is a passionate cook with an eye for downright delicious recipes (have you seen the wafflewich?) and a love for the Mountain House community.

Your love affair with food began at a young age in Italy. Do you remember how old you were and what exactly sparked your passion for cooking?

I was 10 years old. My favorite meal was gnocchi Bolognese. My mother never made it! She didn’t like the consistency and only cooked what she liked. So every time we went to her aunt’s house my uncle Giulio made fresh gnocchi! I always helped and loved making them. He was the only male cook in the family and I admired him very much.

How did you go from a young teenager working in different restaurants, to a successful chef who is now the owner of his own cafe?

I’ve always wanted to own my own restaurant. Working at the number one restaurant in San Francisco (Kokkari Estiatorio), I learned how to successfully be great at what you are passionate about. Many restaurants fail because they have no concept of the simplest rule of the business: “consistently consistent.” My food will always taste the same because of those two simple words.

waffle sandwichYour signature dish is the ‘Wafflewich,’ which you said you dreamt about before adding it to the Cafe’s menu. What other ways do you find creative inspiration for your recipes?

Inspiration comes from everywhere. When I drive to the post office in Byron, the corn speaks to me. Two hours later, we offer grilled wild salmon over roasted local corn with blistered cherry tomatoes topped with rocket and a mustard vinaigrette. I drive to the bank in discovery Bay, I see gorgeous tomatoes. The next day we offer a caprese tower. With layers of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Topped with a white peach vinaigrette. Inspiration is in the air and it’s what leads me to follow my heart.

What is your personal favorite dish at the Byron Inn Cafe?

My personal favorite breakfast would have to be the Crab Cakes Benedict with crispy hash browns. My favorite lunch is my bacon cheeseburger. Favorite dinner is any whimsical pizza I come up with that day.

How has living in the Bay Area influenced your cooking style?

There’s no secret to my style. The land and seasons speak to me. I was recently offered a shipping container that grows all sorts of vegetables, herbs and fruit. They wanted to put it in the back part of the restaurant. I laughed and told them that I was a real cook who loves my  seasons. I don’t want to cook with a specific item that has never seen a day of sunshine! Told them that their concept would be great for a chain restaurant. I cook and offer what’s in season.

What made you decide to open a restaurant near Mountain House?

The restaurant chose us, I love small towns with a tight knit sense of community involvement.

Do you have any future projects or endeavors that you are excited about?

I’m building a food truck called “The Wafflewich.” I’ll be only serving that and my famous ground burgers! To be spotted at a Mountain House village in the near future.

And his thoughts on serving residents at our lovely community?

“I love Mountain House! The community has been extremely good to me.”

You heard it hear, folks! Visit Chef Rose at the Byron Inn Cafe, located at 16141 Byron Hwy, Byron, CA and enjoy one of his whimsical dishes. Restaurant hours are from 6:00AM to 3:00PM!