Cooking with Delverde & La Cucina Italiana

photo(121)On Tuesday evening, before a crowd of 200 well-heeled New Yorkers and elegant Italians in the food business, I gave my first-ever cooking demonstration (wearing cocktail attire, 4-inch heels and a necklace that weighed about 2 lbs, by the way).

I spy noted chef and Dean of the Italian Studies program of the French Culinary Institute in NYC, Cesare Casella. He was wearing a rosemary branch in his lapel.

I spy acclaimed chef and Dean of the Italian Studies program at the International Culinary Institute in NYC, Cesare Casella. He wore a rosemary branch in his lapel.

Delverde winnerFor those of you who don’t follow me on social media, let me back up.  Remember my submission to the Delverde Dish Your Blog recipe challenge in October -  Pappardelle with Roasted Butternut Squash, Crispy Pancetta, Fried Sage and Mascarpone?  Well, I was one of the two lucky winners!  As part of my prize, I’m featured in a Delverde advertorial in the December issue of La Cucina Italiana Magazine.

In addition,  I was invited to demonstrate my winning dish at La Cucina Italiana’s Holiday Party at the GE Monogram Design Center in NYC.   Picture an open, modern space lined with brand-new, gleaming stainless steel GE Monogram appliances (yes, I did indeed shamelessly hint to the GE manager that I’m renovating a house and am in the market for a new stove!), flowing Chianti and Vermentino and trays of salty salumi, sharp cheeses and Sicilian sweets  at every pass.

1470064_589033184483487_1169249339_nI’ve given many cooking classes before and most people who know me wouldn’t exactly describe me as a shrinking violet.  However, despite the fact that this event seemed pretty much tailor-made for a person whose two greatest talents are cooking and talking, I was terrified to face this crowd.   Once I got going, I felt terrific and focused my presentation on the people standing closest to  me so that it felt  more like an intimate cooking lesson.  (And to my cousin who, a few days ago, teased that I would likely ramble on for so long that the event organizer would need to pipe in music to stop me like they do during long-winded Oscars acceptance speeches, you were WRONG!)

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Wild Italian hands do some talking of their own

Chef Tagere Southwell, the Executive Chef  at the GE Monogram Design Center did the heavy lifting, prepping all of the ingredients (wouldn’t that be a dream come true?) and cooking tasting portions of the winning dishes for the party-goers.

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Cooking with Chef Tagere

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Getting to know Dolores from Delverde Pasta – winning this contest was particularly meaningful for me as Delverde is based in Fara San Martino, Abruzzo, right over the Majella from Salle

One of the other highlights of the event was meeting co-Dish Your Blog winners, Joe and Michele Becci, the brother-and-sister team behind the excellent blog, Our Italian Table.  Their winning dish – MOur Italian Tableezzi Rigatoni with Saffron Creme, Tuscan Kale and Crispy Prosciutto - is both earthy and elegant – perfect for winter entertaining.  I honestly don’t know whether my nerves would have gotten the better of me if not for their humor and camaraderie. I look forward to our continued friendship and collaboration.

Buon appetito and grazie mille to Delverde and La Cucina Italiana from this unforgettable experience!

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One Response to %2$s

  1. Ciao Chow Linda December 5, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

    Michelle – I can’t think of anyone who would be better equipped to give this demonstration. Your recipe was dynamite and your speaking skills are terrific. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be there. It sounds like a wonderful event.

    • Majella Home Cooking December 6, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

      Thanks so much, Linda. You’re too kind and you know all too well that it’s tough to keep me quiet! I understand that you and Michele Becci connected. She and her brother are wonderful – glad to hear you have plans to meet. Un abbraccio, Michelle

  2. Pat December 6, 2013 at 3:34 am #

    Congratulations Michelle. It’s a fantastic dish and well deserves the win. Made it several times now and passed recipe to friends who love it. You are getting famous in my part of England.

    • Majella Home Cooking December 6, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

      Thank you, Pat! I’m so glad you and your friends enjoyed the recipe! Let’s all gather in Abruzzo this summer and cook!

  3. Helen December 6, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    I enjoyed the details of your fabulous and well deserved adventure. Michelle, you represent Abruzzo well, especially all dolled up. Besides a stove, I hope you get a cooking show contract one of these days.

    • Majella Home Cooking December 6, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

      Thanks, my friend, especially about the Abruzzo part. You know how special that place is to me and I hope that I can be a tiny part of spreading the word here in the US. It really was an unforgettable experience for me. I enjoy this part of the job so much and would welcome similar opportunities (televised or otherwise, LOL). Un abbraccio. Michelle

  4. susan December 6, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    So exciting to read about the event! I am glad that I found out about your blog from reading Michele’s blog. This must have been quite an exciting honor to participate in the evening’s festivities. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the win!
    Susan

    • Majella Home Cooking December 6, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

      Benvenuta, Susan! Thanks for stopping by and for the good wishes. It was quite the honor indeed and my new friendship with Michele made the whole experience even more special. A presto! Michelle

  5. Frank @Memorie di Angelina December 7, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    Congrats again on this well-deserved honor. I’m sure the run up was nerve-racking but it looks like you had a ball!

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