8 January 2024

Five minutes with in-house dining chef Roderick Pieper of Reggie's Hospitality

| Oliver Jacques
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Roderick Pieper can bring a restaurant feel to your home. Photo: Kin Tide.

So you’re planning a dinner party and want to impress your snobbish friends? You can now hire one of Griffith’s most accomplished chefs, Roderick Pieper, who’ll come to your home to make it feel like a fancy restaurant.

Mr Pieper is just 34 years old, but he’s been well known on the Riverina food scene for almost two decades.

After growing up in Narrandera, he got his start as a 17-year-old apprentice at Griffith’s La Tavola restaurant, where he was mentored by Melina Puntoriero – now a world-famous chef who runs culinary schools in Europe. Her protege has also been the head chef at The Hot Olive at the Area Hotel, was the inaugural chef at the Whitton Malt House, and has further developed his skills in Italy, Canada and Texas, where he acquired a love for refined Southern-style American cuisine.

Fancy dish

Roderick Pieper can cater for all tastes. Photo: Supplied.

“I finished up at the Malt House in February 2023 and started Reggie’s Hospitality, which is named after my Dad. He passed away in 2014,” Mr Pieper said.

“We have a food truck and also do in-house dining. We give people a touch of a restaurant at home. We use fresh and high-quality ingredients and mix different styles. Recently, I’ve done quite a few high-end corporate events.

“We get approached by a client, we have a chat to see what their favourite foods are. Then I’ll give them a few options to choose from.

“Events can be tailored to clients’ wishes and can include table and drinks service, as well as cleaning up afterwards. Every occasion is unique.”

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Region got to know more about Mr Pieper through our regular Five Minutes With series, where we profile the staples of the Riverina food scene.

Best recent dining experience: Bar Conte, in Sydney, it’s the most Italian bar I’ve been to outside of Italy. They serve about 30 different types of Negroni cocktails. They have a good, solid menu with good burrata cheese.

Favourite cuisine: It would go between Texas barbecue and Italian. There’s a lot of misconceptions about Southern US food. Some of the best restaurants I’ve been to were in that part of the world.

Most embarrassing pantry item: Tinned spaghetti – that’s from my teenage Narrandera roots.

What ingredient can you not live without: Olive oil.

Best coffee spot in the Riverina: Zecca’s is my favourite in Griffith and Meccanico in Wagga.

Next big thing in the Riverina food scene: Barbecue is creeping in, more and more people are doing that. It’s something we do – I try to do a more refined chef spin on it.

Some of your must-try dishes: Our whole-smoked scotch fillet. We smoke a whole cube roll to medium rare and slice it up. Our pork belly and betel leaf is popular too; a Murray cod with a dirty rice (Cajun-style rice with a bit of spice and lots of veggies).

My biggest culinary influence: Melina Puntoriero is a big one. I also admire Jacqui Challinor at the restaurant Nomad in Sydney.

Favourite cookbook: South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations, by Sean Brock.


Roderick Pieper also does tacos in his food truck. Photo: Supplied.

Who I admire in the Riverina food and wine scene: Ben Rosa from Zecca’s, Luke Piccolo from Limone and Jamie Shepley from Wagga’s Hide and Steak Bar.

READ ALSO Five minutes with Hayley Whiley, The Northshore Cafe

Death-row meal: A pasta – pappardelle with ragu to start, then a smoked beef rib and brisket from Stiles Switch BBQ in Austin, Texas. A bowl of tonkotsu ramen to wash it all down.

My least-favourite food: Tinned beetroot, it’s disgusting. Tomatoes when they’re out of season. But generally, I’ll eat anything.

My top-three cooking tips: 1. Don’t be scared. 2. Season everything; salt is your friend. 3. Be flexible when you’re cooking and try something new.

You can make inquiries about Reggie’s Hospitality through its Facebook page or website.

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