British Columbia·The Dish

Why chef Mark Perrier at Savio Volpe thinks you should try his Sunday sugo

Chef Mark Perrier says tomato-based 'Sunday sauce' appears simple but meaty flavours reveal the multi-day cooking process.

Chef Mark Perrier says tomato-based pasta sauce takes days and several cuts of meat to prepare

Chef Mark Perrier says it makes him 'really happy' when he hears Italian-Canadians who grew up eating nonna's Sunday sugo are fans of his recipe. (Knauf and Brown)

Chef Mark Perrier isn't one for fussy food, but he says that doesn't mean sacrificing taste, effort, or the joy that comes with sharing a meal.

That's why the tortiglioni in Sunday sugo or 'sauce' with beef braciole is the dish he proudly keeps on the ever-changing menu at Osteria Savio Volpe, the Italian restaurant he co-owns in East Vancouver.

The pasta dish seems simple — heaps of house-made noodles resembling oversized macaroni gently tossed in a tomato sauce, served with stuffed beef, topped off with plenty of ricotta salata.

But, the traditional recipe requires far more work than meets the eye to render its layers of meaty flavour.

"You make the initial tomato sauce with pork neck bones. Then you take those out ... and then you use the same tomato sauce to put the meatballs in," said Perrier, adding that he uses beef, veal and pork for the meatballs.

"Then you take the meatballs out and then you use the tomato sauce again to cook this beef braciole."

It's a process the chef says is only repeated about once every three days at his restaurant.

Although it might be tedious, Perrier believes the Sunday sauce exemplifies what he loves most about rustic Italian cooking.

"It's not fussy — it's more about how it tastes than how the plating is," says Perrier, who worked in French fine dining for years. "It's food that's meant to be eaten with your friends and your family."

In his own family, he says the Sunday sugo is a favourite for everyone except his wife.

"I kind of killed my wife with that dish the summer before we opened," he said with a laugh. 

His kids though, still order it whenever they visit him at the restaurant.

This story is part of the new series The Dish. Keep an eye on this site in the coming weeks to hear from other chefs who tell us what they think we should eat at their restaurants.


Lien Yeung


Lien Yeung is a host and reporter with CBC Vancouver News. She has covered stories locally and nationally from Halifax to Victoria on television, radio and online. Find her on Instagram or Twitter @LienYeung or via email at