To those who know him, Angelo Garro is a modern renaissance man. Equal parts chef, blacksmith, and hunter, he is well known in the San Francisco food and culture space for his work in all three fields, especially for his role in The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. In 2013, he founded Omnivore, a company that makes specialty salts, seasonings, and sauces, out of his forge in SOMA.
Born in Caesura, Siracusa and raised in Sicily, Angelo developed an interest in art and cooking at a young age. He was inspired by the stonemasons who carved marble angles into tombstones and by his grandmother, whose use of spices and salt taught him about flavor and balance. Driven by these childhood passions, Angelo moved away from Sicily at 18 to study at a Kunstgeverbeschule (a traditional Swiss-German art and craftsmanship school) near Zurich, where he earned his toolmaking and machinist degrees. After graduating, he apprenticed to a Kunstchmiede (Artist Ironsmith) in the Swiss Alps, where he worked until 1975.
He then moved to Canada to open his own studio 90 miles north of Toronto. In 1980, he moved the studio into the city and began creating large architectural pieces, such as the gates of the Toronto Sculpture Garden and the entrance to the park next to St. James Cathedral, the latter of which he earned the Governor General’s Medal from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. During this period, he also designed elaborate sets and props for the Toronto Opera, created a modernistic geologically gate for a jewelry store as well as completing a number of projects for private homes.
In 1983, Angelo went south to San Francisco and opened the Renaissance Forge in an old blacksmithing shop built in the early 1900s. In the years since his arrival in San Francisco, he has worked on ornamentation of private homes with a number of designers including Robert Noble, Gary Hutton, Rebecca Bradley, and Ron Mann, as well as architects Morgan Smith, Robert La Rocca, and Walker and Moody.
In recent years, Angelo has mostly retired from professional blacksmithing in order to focus on Omnivore. The company has been steadily growing since its founding, and its products are now carried by Whole Foods, Mollie Stones, and many more specialty foods markets. You can find more information about Omnivore at www.omnivore.us or www.instagram.com/omnivore.us.