A little slice of Sicily lies in Whitstable in the form of Italian restaurant Sale & Pepe. With restaurants riding the rollercoaster of tier systems, lockdowns and take-aways, how have Sale & Pepe kept themselves busy and in touch with customers during this tumultuous time? We speak to Pietro to find out more…
Tell us a little bit about Sale & Pepe
The idea for Sale & Pepe came from my love for cooking and hospitality.
Growing up in Sicily, food is integral to family and culture, and the earliest memory of my childhood involves following Nonna (Grandma) around the kitchen as she prepared meals. Not always as a lavish affair, but always great food made with passion.
This is how I developed my love for cooking and how I realised that food is so much more than just about eating, but pivotal to holding together both family and community.
Why did you choose Whitstable to open your business?
In January of 2019 I had the opportunity to open Sale & Pepe and was able to realise my dream which was to combine the English town spirit of Whitstable and my passion for cooking.
Sicilian Italian cooking is all about simplicity; using the freshest ingredients and best cooking techniques to maximise flavour. Its influence derived from Asia, Africa and Europe, and I like to think that this eclectic mix reflex the dishes that characterise my kitchen.
How will you keep customers safe on their return?
During the short period that we were allowed to reopen, we took all measures and precautions needed to keep our staff and customers safe, and even reduced our number of seats to almost half and we will keep these measures in place when we reopen.
What has kept you busy over lockdown?
We have carried out lots of improvements in the restaurant during the lockdown, having the chance to get fully licensed and now we stock a prestigious selection of all Sicilian wines from autochthon vines, and we can’t wait for our customers to try them.
How can customers help you right now?
We have had amazing support through lockdown as we have carried on with our takeaways and lots of people have been purchasing vouchers. So thank you to all our customers for this.