:: itchefs-GVCI ::

Grana Padano

2011

Kentaro Torii, GVCI´s Chef of the Year

Mario Caramella, GVCI president has announced who is GVCI Chef of the Year and said: “As every year, we nominate one of us as Chef of the Year. In the past, we have awarded those who had endured serious life threatening situations, who had found themselves in the middle of bombings or terrorist attacks. It´s always great to be able to nominate someone for better reasons and, for a change, this year we will award a non Italian chef who makes Italian Cuisine... he´s one of the Chefs that we, at GVCI call the Third Generation Italian Cuisine Chefs: KENTARO TORII”.

Kentaro Torii is a 29 year old Japanese chef. He´s currently the executive chef of OChre Italian Restaurant & Bar, Singapore.

Born in Yokohama, the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture, he attended culinary school and worked at DaDa, a Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant. Impassioned by the Italian culture and food, he left for Florence to learn the language and everything he could about the country. He then moved to the city of Pavia, in Lombardy, famous for its risottos. There he joined the Al Pino Restaurant as an assistant chef and acquired a grounding in the cuisines of the north with its rich, hearty fare.

Chef Kentaro next relocated to Sardinia and there he immersed himself in the cuisine of the south and the bounty of seafood. He then went on to head the fine dining Italian restaurant at the Mariana Resort and Spa Hotel in Saipan, where he led an international team.

Chef Kentaro moved to Singapore in 2006 and worked as an executive chef at Tavolo Italian restaurant. Today, Chef Kentaro is leveraging on his experience to meld authentic Italian flavours with modern influences at OChre.

Click on photos to enlarge:

  •  
 

Giorgio Nava received the Award for Best Italian Restaurant in Southafrica

95 Keerom, GVCI´s associate Giorgio Nava´s Restaurant in Cape Town, has received the 2011 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Award for Best Italian Restaurant in Southafrica. There are no secrets to this acknowledgement: “There is a lot of con-fusion around, that’s why we are successful with our simple and classic cuisine”, says Giorgio, this proudly "Milanese DOC" who makes norther italian cuisine, is very meticulous and pays a lot of attention to the ingredients.

 

Susy Masseti opened her new Restaurant: Il Masso

Chef Susy Masseti opened her new place in Bahrain, Il Masso. In her own words: "We have opened our place a month ago and I am very proud! We also have an organic orchad. In summ, it's a dream come true!" In bocca al lupo!

 

Francesco Farris opened “Zio Cecio”, his new venture in Dallas, with honours!

GVCI veteran Francesco Farris opened his new restaurant “Zio Cecio” in Dallas, his town of residence since 1991. Above anything else, Francesco enjoys cooking and being a host to his customers. He owns a unique cooking style, with a vast knowledge of Italian cuisines in particular of his native Sardinia. So this is a not-to-be-missed-experience! To make this experience even more fullfilling, he was awarded 5 stars which is the top rate in the US!

Praises as appeared on Dallas News:

Every neighborhood needs a cozy, reliable Italian spot. Find one in your quarter where you can also count on a warm welcome, food that’s a cut above the ordinary, great service and some nice wines, and you’re in fat city.

Zio Cecio, Francesco Farris’ new restaurant on West Lovers Lane, has already become such a go-to place for Park Cities pasta-seekers, many of whom no doubt remember the chef-owner from his days at Arcodoro and Pomodoro, which he used to run with his brother Efisio. (Efisio and his wife, Lori, still own that restaurant.)

The family hails from Sardinia, and black-and-white photos of Farris’ relatives gracing the deep coral-colored walls reinforce the feeling that Farris is welcoming you into his home. The affable host plays the part of the jolly uncle (Zio means “uncle,” and Cecio is a nickname for Francesco), urging diners to try this, try that, let me fillet that branzino for you — I’ll make you something special.

In fact I was recognized as a critic, but to witness Farris communing with diners at every last table, one has with the impression that all who walk in the door are treated as long-lost — or newfound — friends. Farris is an equal-opportunity doter.

If it’s Sardinian dishes you’re after, you’ll have to hunt and peck around the menu a bit. There’s nothing with bottarga (dried mullet roe), but there is grilled octopus. Unfortunately it drowns a bit in its copious amount of spicy tomato sauce. There’s also wonderfully tender baby octopus antipasto in a squid ink sauce the color of midnight. Served on orzo the menu identifies as “homemade,” it’s an appealing starter, though oversalted when I sampled it.

My favorite antipasti were carpacci. Tenderloin sliced paper-thin, strewn with capers and shaved Parmigiano and drizzled with good olive oil, was simple and correct. Even better were thin-sliced scallops drizzled with olive oil and garnished with microgreens, slivers of blanched tomato and (weirdly) lemon-grass stalks.

The orzo mentioned on the menu notwithstanding, the pastas are not made in-house, though they are fresh, brought in from Fresh Pasta Delight. Often referred to as “Jack’s Fresh Pasta,” the firm supplies many local restaurants. Farris says the owner uses Farris’ recipe for pasta destined for Zio Cecio, though to my palate, Zio Cecio’s pastas have the same taste and texture of other Jack’s Fresh Pasta I’ve tasted around town. It’s fine, but some of the shapes, such as spaghetti, have a texture that’s less than ideal — not quite gummy, but almost. The sheets used for ravioli-type filled pasta, like mezzaluna or quadratini, are better, if a bit thick; they don’t have the silkiness you can get in a good handmade pasta, nor the appealing texture of a great dried pasta.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that although I loved Farris’ carbonara sauce — a classic eggy, cheesy version with the slight variation of guanciale (cured pork jowl) used in place of pancetta — a good dried spaghetti, one that gets some nice texture from being cut using traditional bronze dies, would suit it better.

Quadratini alla mentuccia — midsize ravioli with a smooth filling of potatoes, ricotta and a good hit of fresh mint — has a more Sardinian flavor; it’s lovely tossed in a gentle, fresh and bright-tasting tomato sauce.

Off the menu, you can also get gnocchi sardi. Bathed in a meaty, not too tomatoey Bolognese sauce, the (imported) semolina dumplings are wonderful.

It’s too bad Farris gives the Sardinian dishes short shrift, as the more generic dishes are much less successful. Among the secondi, thyme-crusted lamb chops were beautifully cooked, but a reduction of red Cannonau wine sweet as a port sauce ruined the dish. And osso buco, that 1970s dinner party cliché of a dish, makes an appearance on mashed potatoes. Its sauce, which traditionally features diced aromatic vegetables, is puréed into a gravylike texture. The giant shank, covered thus in gravy and sitting on that mash, has good flavor, but those textures render it monotonous.

But a couple of specials were so good I’d come back for them anytime.

The first is a simple branzino roasted in a salt crust, filleted tableside and drizzled with fresh, fruity olive oil. The menu proposes other salt-crusted whole fish for two, priced at $62.50, but Farris usually has a branzino on hand perfect for one, for $37.50 to $42. It’s lovely served with sliced, simply grilled vegetables.

The other is fabulous suckling pig roasted with myrtle leaves. Burnished gorgeously, it bursts with juicy flavor, a wonderful, rich yet delicate porkiness mingled with a sort of sweet bay flavor from the myrtle. Farris does right in serving it with just some good roast potatoes. He assures me it is available more often than not.

Arcodoro and Pomodoro is the only other Dallas restaurant I can think of that serves Sardinian-style suckling pig, so a comparison is inevitable, and Zio Cecio’s comes out the winner by far. When I had it several months ago at Arcodoro, it was dry and lacking in flavor.

There’s a wood-burning pizza oven in Zio Cecio’s kitchen, but Farris started firing it up only on the occasion of my last visit, when it turned out some terrific, golden-brown, crisp-edged focaccia topped lightly with rosemary and sea salt. I look forward to tasting the pizzas.

There were several Sardinian reds on Zio Cecio’s concise wine list until recently; lately I settled for a 2008 Bavi “Libera” Barbera d’Asti. Reasonably priced at $38, it worked well with both scallop carpaccio and suckling pig and everything in between, though it was served a little too warm.

Come dessert time, if your experience is anything like mine, you won’t see a sweets menu — Farris prefers to come to the table and talk it over. He’s clearly excited about his house-made gelato, and I liked the flavor of his myrtle gelato, but not the texture, like an airy, fluffy soft-serve. There’s decent tiramisu and a nice crème brûlée for fans of those two shopworn (there, I said it) desserts.

I wish I’d remembered two sweets I saw listed right on the dinner menu: a torta di limone alla grappa — lemon cake infused with grappa — or fresh ricotta cheese with a drizzle of bitter honey and dusted with black pepper.

The latter sounds beautifully Sardinian. All the more reason to return.

Zio Cecio (3 stars)

Price: $$$ (salads, antipasti and carpacci $8.50 to $13.50; pastas and pizzas $13.50 to $19.50; main courses $19.50 to $62.50 for whole fish for two; desserts $8.50)

Service: Solicitous, warm and professional

Ambience: An inviting and intimate dining room painted a deep pumpkin orange, with a small bar, open kitchen, rustic tables, a glassed-in wine cellar and pretty tile work. There’s a covered patio in front.

Location: 4615 W. Lovers Lane, Dallas; 214-351-1100; ziocecio.com

Hours: Daily 5 to 10 p.m.

Credit cards: All major

Wheelchair accessible: Yes

Smoking area: None

Alcohol: Full bar. The two-page wine list offers mostly Italian vintages, including a few decent selections for less than $40 per bottle.

 

Umberto Bombana received his 3rd Michelin Star!


From left to right: Rosario Scarpato, Bobbo Cerea, Umberto Bombana, Chicco Cerea and Mario Caramella

Of all the Italian restaurants around the world, according to a prestigious Michelin guide, one alone deserves three stars (the highest rating awarded by the judges of the guide). It won´t be found in New York or Paris, but in Hong Kong: Umberto Bombana´s "Otto e Mezzo".

Itchefs GVCI would like to congratulate Chef Bombana and his team, leadered by Danilo Nicoletti, for this acknowledgement. We had the opportunity of closing the last Italian Cuisine & Wine World Summit at his restaurant where “the King of white truffles” was joined by two other 3-Michelin-Stared Chefs: Chicco e Bobo Cerea (Da Vitorio Ristorante) to prepare an unforgettable meal.

 

Talented itchefs-GVCI Associates Protagonists of the Sfoglino D´Oro Award in Bologna

From left to right, the GVCI musketeers: Francesco Farris, Giuseppe Atzori, Daniel Evangelista,
Ignazio Podda, Donato de Sanits, Dario Congera, Jessica Botta

The International Award Sfoglino D´Oro (The Golden Doughmaker) is a contest organized by the Municipality of Bologna and devoted to dough making (tirare la sfoglia) in the traditional style of the Capital of the Emilia Romagna Region. The Challenge was open to all those professional sfoglini (dough stretchers) who think that dough making is an art, which requires ability and experience. Selected participants from all over the world competed on Sunday 2nd October 2011 in the picturesque setting of the ancient library Salaborsa in the heart of Bologna. The event attracted large audience, more than 2000 people have passed through the Piazza Coperta in the morning. A jury, made by prestigious components, selected the 2011 Golden Doughmaker (Sfoglino d’oro): Beniamino Baleotti.

Itchefs GVCI Honorary President and one of its alma maters Rosario Scarpato, surrounded by
participant Chefs Jessica Botta, Daniel Evangelista, Francesco Farris, Dario Congera,
Giuseppe Atzori, Ignazio Podda and Donato de Santis

Talented itchefs- GVCI associates coming from all over the world accepted the challenge and competed among 23 particpants. Handmade dough is the result of a difficult art to muster and requires skillful hands. It was, originally, a women’s task and now it is a fundamental legacy of the Italian Chefs working abroad. Our chefs: Giuseppe Atzori, Jessica Botta, Dario Congera, Donato De Santis, Daniel Evangelista, Francesco Farris, Ignazio Podda took part in the competition to give their contribution to the preservation of this unique technique of the Italian culinary culture.

Beniamino Baleotti, the winner of the award, was born in Bologna in 1984 and he lives in Pianoro (BO). He´s a professional sfoglino.

The participants with Nadia Monti, Assesor of Productive Activities of the Comune of Bologna


Video

alt=""


Photo gallery

(Click on the image to enlarge)

  •  


Chefs's profiles


GIUSEPPE ATZORI

Born in 1964 in Verona is a chef with 32 years of experience in the field of culinary arts. He learnt the true meaning of produce and cuisine very early in his life, from his family, who tried to make him understand the importance of gastronomy and authentic flavors. At the young age of 14, he entered the Istituto Alberghiero di Bardolino and now after so many years of experience he´s Executive chef at the hotel Vista Real in Guatemala. Passion and love is his creed in cuisine.


JESSICA BOTTA

Just as her own mentor, Chef Fabio Trabocchi of Fiamma, taught her, Chef Jessica Botta emphasizes to her students the importance of supreme attention to detail and respect for craftsmanship at all stages of the culinary process, from prep to plate. Her favorite cookbook, Le Ricette Regionale Italiane, has no shortage of recipes for her preferred dish to cook and eat: pasta! Her leadership and integrity instill students with confidence, and her dedication to the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance demonstrates her devotion to advancing the ideals of the industry. Joined The International Culinary Center in 2008.


DARIO CONGERA

Dario was born in Savona Italian Riviera from an Italian family. His love for food and beverage came when he was very young. He started to work at the age of 14 in a small hotel in his home town Finale Ligure. Since then, he's lived in some of the world's most glamorous grounds –Rome, St. Moritz, Paris, Cairo, Jakarta and Shanghai and now he´s back in Taipei. Dario has worked for many international hotel industry companies –Four Points, Shangri-la, Sheraton, and Westin. His profound passion for cooking has been developed in his illustrious career, Dario is known for his dedication and keen eye for detail with extensive multinational experience, strong customer service ethos. Aside from being an exceptional Dario likes listening rock and heavy metal music and playing drums.


DONATO DE SANTIS

Born in Milan and grew up in Puglia, Donato began his career at L'Antica Osteria del Teatro, Piacenza (Emilia Romagna). A veteran of Italian cuisine abroad, worked in famous establishments in the United States as well as Gianni Versace's personal chef at Casa Casuarina and New York. In Argentina and Latin America, since 2000, he has become a famous chef and host of television programs. He´s the owner and soul of Cucina Paradiso, deli, wine, coffee and more, located in Buenos Aires, and has published successful books that have won important international accolades.


DANIEL EVANGELISTA

Daniel Evangelista is a talented chef who completed his education at hotel school management in 1990 and supported by his seasonal and evening work experiences reached the rank of chef, while working in several restaurants in Milan. To satisfy his desire to learn new cuisine cultures he moved to Paris where, together with chef Aristide Devita, newly graduated from Alain Ducasse - The Cortile founded the restaurant Fra Diavolo. Daniel went then to Sydney where he opened another successful restaurant in Little Italy. Finally he landed in Ankara where in the last eight years he has opened a number of restaurants, managing the Mezzaluna´s cuisines at the same time.


FRANCESCO FARRIS

He spent his childhood years in Orosei on his native island of Sardinia. After graduating with a liberal arts degree from the Instituto Agrario in Nuoro, Francesco worked with many exclusive resorts in Italy, both as cook and manager, including Salice d'Ulzio in Piedmont. He joined his brother in the United States in 1991 to pursue a career in the restaurant industry, in both of their restaurants: Arcodoro and Pomodoro, Houston. This year has opened his new restaurant “Zio Cecio” in Dallas, his town of residence since 1991. Above anything else, Francesco enjoys cooking and being a host to his customers. He owns a unique cooking style, with a vast knowledge of Italian cuisines in particular of his native Sardinia.


IGNAZIO PODDA

Ignazio has a keen understanding of modern and traditional cuisine and permits himself creativity in the kitchen. From Italy’s Alpine Valle d’Aosta, where he received his training and launched his career, he broadened his experience with three years as chef in Italian and Japanese restaurants in pretentious San Francisco, California and since 2002 has been based in Jamaica, where he is presently holds the position of executive chef at the Royal Plantation Villa and consults other resorts in the West Indies.


 

Italian Cuisine Worldwide Awards 2012

The pre selection for the Grana Padano Italian Cuisine Worldwide Awards 2012 is underway. This time it will be in charge of the recently certified Italian Cuisine Master Chefs. Conceived to honour individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the introduction, spreading and preservation of the Italian food and wine culture in the countries they live in. This year´s Jury will be composed as always by prestigious members of the food and wine industry: Luigi Cremona, Paolo Marchi, Vinicio Eminenti, Roberto Bava and Rosario Scarpato. The ceremony will take place in Moscow and New York during the next IDIC edition.

See past editions: 2011 and 2010.

 

Marcello Russodivito celebrated the 25th Anniversary of his restaurant

Last June 16 and 23 Marcello´s celebrated it´s 25th Anniversary in a big way. All his friends, guests and supporters assisted to the Lafayette Theatre in Suffern, NY where the event, hosted by the Brindiamo TV show hostess Ornella Fado, took place. Featuring the Fun Bunch Big Band and a special show by singer Crisitna Fontanelli among others. Congratulations on this achivement! More info.



 

Antonio tardi: the achievement of excellence thru simplicity

Antonio Tardi has been head Chef at the Marco Polo Restaurant for one year now, he has earned his reputation for Italian traditional dishes with a contemporary twist in a context of fine dining. His most recent idea is a menu full of evocations and memories of his Neapolitan childhood and upbringing. Of course, Chef Tardi has added to those dishes his own mark, coined after many years of experience. His philosophy: La semplicita' e una conquista! (Simpliciy is a conquest).

Now everyone can enjoy wonderful dishes such as: Cured Tuna served with Crème Fraiche Quail Eggs and Caviar, Scialiatelli served with Calamari and Clam Sauce, Baccalà served with Potato, Artichokes and Burrata Sauce, a Minestra Maritata and more. A piece of Napoli in a 38th floor overlooking the city of Taipei.

 

Mario Caramella: "My style is contemporary but I retain authenticity"

(Click on the image to enlarge)

 

Itchefs-GVCI with the CNO for the Program of Traceability and High Quality of Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Program of Traceability and High Quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Itchefs-GVCI has been collaborating with the Program of Traceability and High Quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oil of the Consorzio Nazionale degli Olivicoltori for a year now. In 2010, we´ve organized events: in Moscow, Delft, Stuttgart and the Italian Cuisine World Summit.

2011 promises to be even more successful. We´ve started with a presentation in the context of the International Day of Italian Cuisines in NY and Montreal. It´s a joint effort we are pleased to be a part of with the members of the itchefs-GVCI because it aims at promoting one of the most treasured ingredients essential to the making of fine Italian Cuisine.

 

Lambrusco: The new Italian Renaissance

Is the title of a campaign promoted to restore the image of the most known Italian wine in the world. Promoted by the Enoteca Emilia Romagna, it will involve over 40 fine Italian restaurants (in 20 countries) of the itchefs-gvci network. Each chef will present a recipe that matches the best Lambruscos produced in the Region of Emilia Romagna, 2010 harvest. In the last few years the winemakers of the Region have consistently put on the market expressions of this wine that gained the approval of important wine guides. These Lambruscos have nothing to do with the poor quality brands -or appalling imitations- often found in so-called Italian restaurants (and not only) all around the world. The aim of the campaign is to contribute to the renaissance of Lambrusco, as a true ambassador of quality Italian Cuisine.

 

The CNO in New York City


The CNO (Consorzio Nazionale degli Olivicultori), a 40-year-old Italian National Organization of more than 200.000 olive producers, was also present in the IDIC 2011 hosting a special presentation of its Program of Traceability of High Quality Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil in New York City in a Luncheon prepared by GVCI Chef Paolo Monti at the Italian Culinary Academy.

 

Vittorio Lucariello is the new chef at Tosca

GVCI long time member Vittorio Lucariello is the new chef at Tosca Restaurant at the brand new and very luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel in Hong Kong. Vittorio has an impressive career that includes working at the Grissini (Grand Hyatt HK) and the Angelini (Shangri-la HK) Restaurants. This new destination will for sure be an equally successful one. Named after one of the best-loved operas of all time, Tosca will offer Southern Italian cuisine in a dramatically stylish backdrop. The open kitchen design and high ceiling complete the unique and spectacular dining experience that bares Vittorio´s touch of using the freshest ingredients to highlight it´s natural flavors. The Restaurant is due to open next March 29th.

 

Francesco Farris is opening “Zio Cecio”, his new venture in Dallas

Next May, GVCI veteran Francesco Farris will open his new restaurant “Zio Cecio” in Dallas, his town of residence since 1991. Above anything else, Francesco enjoys cooking and being a host to his customers. He owns a unique cooking style, with a vast knowledge of Italian cuisines in particular of his native Sardinia. So this will be a not-to-be-missed-experience!

 

The New York City Première of the IDIC 2011

Cesare Casella

The New York City Première of the IDIC 2011 was hosted by Chef Cesare Casella at the Italian Culinary Academy. Cesare, Dean of the Academy, leader of itchefs-gvci in the USA and co-founder of Salumeria Rosi hosted Chef Massimilano Alajmo, the three-Michelin-starred chef of Le Calandre restaurant (Rubano, Italy) who was in charge of the Gala Dinner Event.

For more details on the NYC events, check our program.

 

Massimiliano Alajmo in NYC for the IDIC 2011

Massimiliano Alajmo

On January 12th and 13th, Massimiliano Alajmo of Le Calandre (Rubano – Padova, Italy) , Italy’s youngest three-star Michelin chef, headlined The International Day of Italian Cuisines (IDIC) at The Italian Culinary Academy located at The International Culinary Center in New York City. With a family run international restaurant empire, hotel, gourmet food shop, product line and the “Best Cookbook in the World” under his belt before the age the of 40, Massimiliano Alajmo is perhaps one of the most recognizable chefs in Italy. As in past editions, the event celebrated the authenticity and quality of Italian Cuisine and in this context the Italian Cuisines Worldwide Awards 2011 was presented to the winners. In New York City, the recipients will be: DOROTHY CANN HAMILTON, MARIO BATALI, TONY MAY and PAUL BARTOLOTTA.

For more details on the NYC events, check our program.

 

Massimo Bottura in Singapore for the IDIC 2011

Massimo Bottura

The IDIC 2011 was launched in Singapore (as well as in New York City and Genova -see the whole program of events-) with some great events scheduled for 13th January. In Singapore, Mario Caramella, GVCI president and recently appointed chef patron of Forlino Rastaurant hosted Massimo Bottura, one of the most talented and famous contemporary Italian Chefs. The two-Michelin-starred chef Massimo Bottura, Osteria Francescana, Modena (number six of the best 50 of the world’s restaurants) prepared the Launch Luncheon for the IDIC 2011 and an exclusive Wine Gala Dinner. The luncheon saw the awarding of the Italian Cuisine Worldwide Awards (ICWA) that is, the Oscars of Italian oenogastronomy in the world. Two of them went to Singapore based successful restaurateurs: Beppe De Vito and Roberto Galetti.

For more details on the IDIC 2011 events, check our program.