Dolci Café in Craighall Park is one of Johannesburg’s destination restaurants when it comes to authentic Italian cuisine – is owned and run by Chef Jackie Righi-Boyd and her husband, actor Clayton Boyd, as well as their partner Zoran Mijailovic.
Righi-Boyd comes from a dynasty of restaurateurs and her mother – super-nonna-chef Luciana Righi of Assaggi, Tre Nonni and Amarcord fame, is part of the team in this friendly neighbourhood eatery.
We caught up with Jackie to find out more…
Jackie, you grew up around food and cooking your whole life, yet you didn’t realise until you were in your 30’s that this is what you wanted to do, right? Tell us more about that?
I had just turned 30 and a week later Clayton (my husband) and I left for Italy to go stay with my family and for me to apprentice in an Italian pastry shop – I tried to fight my destiny (landing up in the Restaurant trade ) but I’m a true believer than “life” one way or another will guide and take you to what you were always meant to do.
I went to university and an under and post graduate – hated every minute of working in an office – and here I am – possibly cause I grew up watching my parents do this it comes naturally to me – people often ask me but “how did you know XYZ” often the response is “I don’t know I just did” and this is because I grew up observing how my parents did it.
Share a bit more about your time, and experiences, in Italy.
My father and sister live in Italy and I lived there from the age of 12 to 17 – Italy is beautiful – the food is phenomenal and people have pride in the work they do -It felt like I was in a movie – I would wake up go to this beautiful little pastry shop in a small town where everyone knew everyone – people of the community would often pop their heads into the back door of the pastry shop to have a chit chat with the owner.
The pastry shop I was working in has been running for 40 years so some of the pastry are still made the old fashion way (by hand) no fancy machinery is needed as the old owner always use to say – he didn’t work physically in the pastry shop as years of this job had taken a toll on his body but he was still there every day watching over those who worked there -the perfection and pride you put into making what you make and being a master at it truest admirable .
Dolci has evolved a bit since you first opened – take us through that, and what it has become today?
So dolci meaning sweets opened as a little pastry shop – as one of our long standing customers said “it was a little Jewellery box” – sparkly and full of delights – the evolution is mostly due to my business partner and husband – he is the visionary and the one who has the bison to expand – so from pastry shop we added breakfast / then lunch / then dinner and finally became a fully fledged restaurant.
What is your favourite dish on the menu, right now?
My favourite dish right now and forever is cappelletti ragù. It’s comfort food and the dish my mom always made me – it’s a pasta parcel served with traditional ragù (Bolognese sauce) – it’s my favourite and on our menu.
Who are your regular clients, you are a neighbourhood name, right?
The beautiful thing about Dolci is that those who supported us from day 1 are still our customers- as we have become bigger and better known word of mouth has travelled and we do get customers from other areas coming to visit us.
You also do catering for events and functions as well – what is your full offering?
When it comes to catering we will make up anything for you that’s on our menu in your own platters / dishes but we don’t go to venues a cater for events – we do however do wedding cakes – I do those myself and deliver set up and the venue.
What is your bucket list travel destination and why?
I would love to go to Scotland – it looks so picturesque , green and beautiful. It also seems to have that village / community feel which I adore and find comforting.
One person you would love to have dinner with (dead or alive) and why ?
Brad Pitt 20 years ago – cause I have a massive crush on him.
Find out more about Jackie and Dolci Cafe right here…