Interview with Giuseppe Sinaguglia - The renowned Olive Tree chef

Published: Thursday 29th Mar 2018

Written by: Katie Bessant

A morning expedition foraging for ‘free’ food along the World Heritage Dorset coastline and then returning to your holiday home to use nature’s best ingredients to cook dinner, is a wonderful way to spend a day.

The Isle of Purbeck has long been a foraging destination for cooks seeking rich ingredients such as sea vegetables, wild garlic and juicy berries. And when better to try the abundance of new flavours than during a holiday?

Professional chef and cookery tutor at The Olive Tree, Giuseppe Sinaguglia, guides groups of amateur foragers in search of sea aster or purslane, snails and wild flowers and herbs to accompany, perhaps, a sea bass bought from a Swanage Bay fisherman. Or the foragers might even catch a crab.

“My foraging story started when I was growing up in Sicily,” says Giuseppe. “Most Sundays my Papa woke me up early to help him in our family’s olive grove just outside the hilltop town, Siculiana, on the south west coast of Italy. We used to tend the vineyard and olive grove before foraging for lunch to take home to my Mamma to cook. We collected wild asparagus, all sorts of wild greens, caper berries, and snails. At the age of 14, I went to catering college before moving to England.”

Giuseppe worked for Marco Pierre White at The Criterion, Piccadilly and spent two years as Head Chef of Carluccio’s, Market Place.

“Carluccio was a keen forager and brought all sorts of wild mushrooms into the kitchen for me to cook for him and his guests. I love foraging because it brings back memories of my childhood and allows me to enjoy the beautiful countryside and coastline we have in Purbeck. I forage for chef James Golding at The Pig on the Beach restaurant in Studland.

“Finding interesting ingredients and creating new recipes is a year round activity, which is relaxing, creating and delicious!” To forage with Giuseppe or book a place on one of his courses at The Olive Tree Cookery School in Norden go to



Crab Crostini - Makes approximately 15 crostini

  • 1 small baguette
  • 100g white crab meat
  • 50g brown crab meat
  • 80g cherry tomatoes
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 1 avocado, not too ripe
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • This recipe is even more delicious with some locally picked samphire, when in season.

Slice the cherry tomatoes into quarters and pop in a bowl. Cut the avocado in half lengthways and remove the stone. Leave in the skin, and using a small knife, criss-cross each half. Using a spoon scoop out the diced pieces. Squeeze lemon juice over the avocado and season with salt and pepper (this should help prevent oxidisation – discolouring). Shred the basil leaves and add to the chopped tomatoes, season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Add a good tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and stir.

Slice the baguette and drizzle with olive oil. Place under a pre-heated grill and toast on one side only until golden brown (this happens quite quickly!) Place the toasted crostini on a serving plate and rub the top with the raw garlic. Using a knife, spread a little of the brown meat on your crostini before topping with the other ingredients – the white crab meat, diced avocado, dressed tomatoes.

Serve straight away.

Katie Bessant


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