Festive Food Q&A: Claudio Celino, owner of Celino's Italian Delicatessen Trattoria

Festive Food & Drink Q&A: Claudio Celino – Owner of Celino's Italian Delicatessen Trattoria

Claudio shares his Christmas cooking tips

'Tis the season to gather together with loved ones and eat ourselves into a stupor until the new year. Since we've been dreaming non-stop of turkey and trimmings since the weather turned cold, we decided to ask some professional foodies about their culinary inspiration, the secret behind their Christmas show-stoppers and how they innovate on the classics.

Here we chat to Claudio Celino, owner of Glasgow trattoria, Celino's.

Christmas isn't complete without a cocktail, what's your ultimate go to festive tipple?
Aperol Spritz or a Negroni

What does Christmas at Celino's look like?
It's very busy in the house. I have three wee boys – Rocco, Giancarlo and Gennaro – and excitement levels are at the max as you could imagine. We set the dinner table the night before and the cooking starts on Christmas eve once I return from work.

Who is your favourite chef or what is your favourite cookbook for festive cooking inspiration?
I really like Gordon Ramsay and Jamie [Oliver] but more recently Gino [D'Acampo] is great for quick simple pasta recipes that I can adapt with Christmas leftovers, like rib roast in a Penne Filetto or Jamie's leftover turkey and leek pie, which is phenomenal and so easy to make.

How can you spice up the usual Christmas side dishes to give them an exciting twist?
For 'Italian' pigs in blankets, use smoked pancetta to make the pigs in blankets and use spicy Italian sausage instead of the usual British pork link. And for a twist on Brussels sprouts, mix blanched Brussels sprouts with cloves of garlic, olive oil and grated parmesan and breadcrumbs roasted in the oven…amazing.

How would you convince someone to eat out for their Christmas meal?
We close Christmas Day so I'm sorry, don't eat out: make the effort, cook and stay in unless it is completely impossible.

Are you an eat your advent calendar all at once or strictly one per day sort of person?
Do the lot in one go. End of.

Do you have any recipes or food traditions that have been passed down in your family?
Yes, our apple crumble. You can spice it up with raisins, cinnamon and a bit of Strega – an Italian liquor which is so underestimated.

What is your Christmas show-stopper?
A rib roast hung for a minimum of 40 days – it is sublime. And for the sweet tooth a limoncello zabaglione.

A Celino's Partick
235 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, G11 6AB
Expanding from its original East End location, Celino's family-friendly Italian dining is just as popular at this West End restaurant.
B Celino's
620–624 Alexandra Parade, Glasgow, G31 3BT
Traditional trattoria bringing beautifully cooked Italian favourites to Dennistoun, with the option to take home treats from the deli counter.