When you’re invited to a dinner hosted in an Italian restaurant by an Italian culinary organization and featuring celebrity Italian chefs you expect a dinner that highights the traditions of Italian cooking. Unless that dinner is hosted by Identità Golose, the dinner is at Baffo, and the chefs are Heinz Beck, Cristina Bowerman, Giuseppe Tentori, and Alex Pilas.
Hosted by Lidia Bastianich, Identità Golose All Star Chefs’ Dinner was a shining example of modern Italian cooking. It was a challenging meal, both for the chefs and the guests, as each course defied expectations and introduced unexpected combinations of ingredients and flavors.
The evening began with a reception featuring Grana Padano DOP Riserva, an Italian cow’s milk cheese that’s been aged at least twenty months, paired with Guido Berlucchi “61”, a sparkling wine from Franciacorta. This was also paired with a generous serving of Calvisius Caviar.
Chef Heinz Beck created the antipasto, a colorful and savory dish entitled Water Garden made with tapioca topped with caviar.
Primo was offered by Chef Cristina Bowerman. The hearty course included potato spheres, black fermented garlic sauce, Grana Padano, and Urbani Burgundy truffle. It also featured sea urchin to represent the cuisine of her home province of Puglia. Despite the abundance of rich flavors they were layered well enough to be distinct yet complementary. Also complementary was the Fontanafredda “Coste Rubin Barbaresco DOCG from Piemonte.
Chicago’s own Giuseppe Tentori created the Secondo course, which was another rich composition. Triple-seared Wagyu beef was placed atop smoked yellow beet puree and topped with cipollini onions and bonito flakes. It was paired with the effervescent Birra Moretti La Rossa.
The finishing touch for the evening was presented by Chef Alex Pilas, Eataly’s Executive Chef. The rich Fig cage with pomegranate and mascarpone was paired well with the crisp “Galarej” Asti Spumante DOCG from Fontanafredda. Coffee was provided, of course, by Lavazza.
The entire evening was a surprising journey through Italian cuisine. These innovative chefs are comfortable enough with their art that they can go beyond traditional boundaries to create a meal that’s not just filling, but is also fulfilling.
Thank you, Identita Golose and Lidia Bastianich for a delightful, delicious evening!
Eataly Chicago is located at 43 East Ohio St, Chicago, IL. All photos courtesy of Identita Golose.