The Grocery Cart Chronicles: Harrisburg chef Bill Collier

Ever wonder what your favorite chef buys when they’re off the clock? In this series, we take a peek into the private shopping habits of some of Pennsylvania’s top tastemakers.

Bill Collier spends plenty of time at the supermarket, picking up supplies for his family of five. But he also spends a lot of time in the woods, hunting for their next meal. An avid outdoorsman, Collier’s home-cooked dinners often revolve around a venison loin or braised rabbit. His personal favorite is venison meatloaf, simply prepared with Heinz ketchup, salt, pepper, garlic powder, sautéed onion, eggs, and Italian breadcrumbs. It’s the perfect thing for a cozy night gathered around the table with family. Read on to see what else is in his grocery cart.

Collier is the chef at Bricco in Harrisburg. The award-winning Italian restaurant is a collaboration between Olewine School of Culinary Arts at Harrisburg Area Community College and Greenwood Hospitality. The menu focuses on locally-sourced, seasonal products, with customers coming back for their handmade pastas, braised short ribs and stone-oven pizzas. Diners can watch the magic happen in the eatery’s open kitchen.

When at home, Collier melds those Italian flavors with dishes from his Pennsylvania Dutch upbringing: pork and sauerkraut, pork chops, roast chicken. That stick-to-your-ribs food is perfect during the dark winter months. The family’s table usually boasts a “really good protein” — something wild, poultry from Rettland Farms in Gettysburg, pork chops from Wayne Nell & Sons in East Berlin — a simple starch and a vegetable or two. There’s always a salad.

“I grew up influenced by my grandmother and my mother,” says Collier. “We’d always have Sunday dinner at our house. We’d have 25 or 30 people, and everyone was always welcome.”

These days, Collier sometimes updates traditional favorites, like a beloved vegetable dish with serious zing.

“Brussels sprouts are my favorite to cook with, at the restaurant and also at home,” he says. “They’re very versatile. The seasonal favorite that guests ask about all year long is our crispy Brussels sprouts with a sriracha, honey and lime vinaigrette. They’re very simple, but very addictive.”

Bill Collier’s Grocery List

  • Balsamic vinegar (for dressing that ever-present salad)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Ice cream (“We always have some sort of ice cream. I’m a sucker for strawberry shortcake bars.”)
  • Worcestershire (mix with Heinz ketchup and mustard for a simple meatloaf sauce)
  • Sterman Masser potatoes (“They’re only about 15 minutes away from my house. I’ve built a solid relationship with them through the PA Preferred program and the Pennsylvania Farm Show.”)
  • Rettland Farms chicken
  • Wayne Nell & Sons pork chops
  • A1 Sauce (“I absolutely love A1 sauce. I like it as a marinade as well as a sauce for many proteins.”)
  • Cholula Hot Sauce
  • Waltz Vineyards Cherry Tree Merlot (“Pair it with shortribs — anything braised, nice and hearty. At the restaurant we serve a sage papardelle with braised duck.”)
  • Bottle of wine from Armstrong Valley Winery or Broad Mountain Vineyards (“As a bonus, my wife really enjoys these wines.”)