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Bitch at Us: Chef Claudio of Et Voila!

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Catherine is our Baby Bitch in the City who enjoys scoping out the latest and greatest brunch spots. Born and raised in the District, Catherine decided to take her talents up to the Big Apple for a couple of reasons: She knows the lyrics to any musical you throw at her, she’s a Soul Cycle slave, and most importantly, she’s an avid fan of the beloved Gossip Girl series. She’s an undergrad studying literature at Davidson.

Et Voila Crepes Suzette

What Bitch doesn’t love a good birthday party? With a fabulous menu, free glass of champagne, and recognized chef to boot, Et Voila! covers all of our Bitch bases for a wonderful meal.

Next week, Et Viola’s Chef Claudio Pirollo’s will celebrate his 40th birthday on Friday, June 20, 2014, and the restaurant will host a celebration.  As executive chef and owner of the Belgian-French bistro, Pirollo is ringing in his birthday all day long with any and all who love a good excuse for a party.

Et Voila! has been consistently named one of the “100 Best Restaurants” by Washingtonian alongside recognition from The Washington Post and The Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. More importantly, the Bitches gave brunch at Et Voila solid A.

In advance of this momentous celebration, we decided to let Chef Claudio weigh in on the DC culinary scene. We caught up with Claudio to chat about everything from his brunch menu at Et Voila! to his culinary future.

Claudio Pirollo Headshot

How did your Italian and Belgium background influence your culinary career?
It affected my career a lot. Both backgrounds have had a large influence on my culinary experience because both countries have a lot of resources as far as well-made products. I enjoy playing around with techniques from both disciplines when I’m in the kitchen.

You were previously the personal chef to the Ambassador of Ireland. How does owning and operating a restaurant compare with being a personal chef?
Operating a restaurant is a challenge every day. You cook, plus you have to deal with managing the staff, equipment, problems, numbers, and everything else from start to finish. When you work as a personal chef, you are focusing more on the kitchen work and you don’t have to deal with the rest of the house. Personally, I prefer my situation today because I like a good challenge.

What inspired your brunch menu at Et Voila!?
I was eating brunch everywhere and I was looking around for what customers were looking for. I added the most popular items I saw to my menu and then tacked on a few items that came to my mind.

Et Voila! has been consistently named one of the “100 Best Restaurants” by the Washingtonian Magazine. What qualities of the restaurant do you attribute all this success to?
I have to say my team. They are consistent and try their best every single day.

What’s your favorite brunch dish?
The Croque Madame and the Mussels Burger.

Et Voila Burger

Mimosas or Bloody Marys?
Mimosas.

We love to find out where chefs like to eat. What are your favorite spots in New York and Washington?
In New York: Daniel Boulud, Momofuku, and Le Bernardin. In D.C.: Palena, Mintwood Place, The Source

Where’s your favorite place to brunch in Washington, other than Et Voila! of course?
The Source, Mintwood Place, Belga Café

What’s next for you? Any plans for another restaurant in the future?
I’m still looking—maybe an Italian restaurant. Nothing’s confirmed yet.

We’re so excited to be celebrating your birthday with you. What’s your best birthday food memory?
My 30th birthday. My best friends Alex Malaise and Christophe Hardiquest from restaurant Bon Bon in Belgium threw me a surprise party with an excellent menu. It’s too good of a memory.

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