We went to Naples upon a challenge: to cook “Spaghetti alla Sofia Loren”. To demonstrate that even behind horrible, decadent pasta dishes carrying the name of famous Italians, it is possible to make great Italian cuisine. An enthusiastic public enjoyed a well deserved tribute to Sofia Loren.
In May we participated in Cooking for Wine in Naples, which was hosted by the third edition of Vitigno Italia, the most prestigious international fair totally devoted to wine made in Italy with Italian native varieties. We went to Naples upon a challenge poised by Luigi Cremona and Lorenza Vitaly, the organizers of Cooking for Wine: to cook “Spaghetti alla Sofia Loren”.
While abroad a dish with this name may sounds quite innocent, in Italy it sounds really tacky. In general terms, in the names of famous Italians, indeed good marketing tools, some of the ugliest crimes against good Italian cuisine have been carried out at all latitudes. Sofia Loren’s name has been, perhaps, the most abused. So, we accepted the challenge of Cooking for Wine with the aim of demonstrating that even behind a name that reminds us of horrible, decadent pasta dishes made “Broccolino style” , it is possible to make great Italian cuisine. Broccolino was the slang used by Italian migrants in New York to call Brooklyn.
The demonstrations of our chefs were among the most successful events in both Cooking for Wine and Vitigno Italia. Our delegation was formed by chefs coming from everywhere: Fabio Boschero (São Paulo, Brazil), Cesare Casella (New York City, USA), Donato De Santis (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Salvatore Pepe (Adelaide, Australia), Paolo Monti (Hong Kong), and Elena Ruocco (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). They were accompanied by Rosario Scarpato, GVCI Honorary President and itchefs&Co managing editor. Italian based itchefs-gvci Giovanni Grasso and Igor Macchia of La Credenza, San Maurizio Canavese (Province of Turin, Piedmont) soon joined the delegation. Each chef gave his own interpretation of the dish and all used some of the finest ingredients available in Southern Italy. More information about participating chefs, their recipes and the ingredients they used can be found in their personal profiles. The audience enjoyed the interaction with our chefs and the event soon became a deserved tribute to Sofia Loren, who has always represented Italy with intelligence, elegance and sensitivity.
Itchefs – Gvci at vitigno Italia
Executive Chef at Hilton São Paulo Morumbi Brazil, where he supervises the making of 2500 meals a day, in the various outlets. He was born in Rome and studied and trained in Italy. He covered many positions outside of Italy before arriving to Brazil. He achieved a successful match between spaghetti and a tomato based sauce with an exotic touch given by coconut milk, accompanied with prawns and pine nuts.
Chef owner of Maremma in New York City, cookbook author, Dean of the Italian Culinary Studies at the International Culinary Center in the same city. He is one of the most notable Italian Chefs in the USA, having worked at Vipore, Coco Pazzo, Il Toscanaccio, Beppe, all very successful and quality establishments. For his Spaghetti alla Sophia he concocted a sauce with tomatoes, Tropea’s onions, tuna, anchovies and provolone cheese.
DONATO DE SANTIS
Born in Milan and raised in Puglia, Donato started his career at L’antica Osteria del Teatro in Piacenza (Emilia Romagna). A veteran of Italian cuisine abroad, he has worked for famous restaurants in the US as well as a Personal Chef to the late Gianni Versace in Casa Casuarina and New York. In Argentina and Latin America since 2000 he has become a famous TV chef and wrote several books. He cooked “Il sole con gli spaghetti” (the sun with spaghetti) with cime di rape (turnip tops), lemon and basil.
Executive Chef at Gaia Restaurant Hong Kong. A native of Rome he has worked at some of the city’s most renowned restaurants. Previously he worked in Los Angeles restaurants, including the REX il Ristorante, Louise’s Trattoria and the Alto Palato Trattoria. He called his spaghetti “Toto, Peppino e la Malafemmina”, in honour of Neapolitan comedy actors Antonio de Curtis alias Totò and Peppino De Filippo. Provola di bufala, Parmigiano and beef bracioline were among the ingredients he used.
As well as being a cookbook author, Salvatore is chef and co-owner of Cibo Espresso Australia, a successful chain of bars, pastry shops, gelaterie. He was the chef at Cibo, arguably the best Italian Restaurant in Adelaide and previously worked at Buon Ricordo, Sydney. He called his dish “Spaghetti estivi” and the tomato based sauce contained some chilly, yellow potatos, zucchini and green beans.
GIOVANNI GRASSO E IGOR MACCHIA
Respectively chef patron and chef of the restaurant “La Credenza” in San Maurizio Canavese (TO), an old trattoria that Giovanni restored and transformed in a top notch place. Giovanni and Igor are famous for their haute cuisine mixing international techniques with traditional cooking. Their Spaghetti were an elaborate preparation made with “colatura di alici”, algae, tomatoes comfit with lemon and marinated mussels.
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