Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kitchen Talk - Chef Angelo D'Amico - Le Mancine (Bn)

Chef Angelo D'Amico
When I walked into the sushi kitchen at Hotel Romeo a couple of weeks ago, he was there.  Angelo D'Amico.   Chef Angelo D'Amico.   His name was familiar.  I heard it for the first time 3 years ago ish when he was named the Best Emerging Chef of The South back in 2010.But we had never met.
Our paths crossed for the first time one  Sunday morning...
On this particular Sunday morning he was adding the final touches to an appetizer to be served after the official presentation of the CHIC Guide 2013.  A day in which he would officially become part of the Charing Italian Chef Association.

Ciao, sono Karen...
Ciao, Angelo....
We smiled...
We shook hands...
Twenty seconds of silence,
and then a Would you like to try one? he asked as he handed me a small plate.  His first appetizer as a CHIC. An amazing appetizer...
Canollo
A crunchy canollo that he made from thinly sliced day old bread. Inside?  Ricotta from Sannio (Benevento), turnip greens, capers from Pantelleria (Sicily), olives, anchovy sauce and a pizzaoila sauce.
A dish so flavorful and memorable that I made sure to bump into D'Amico the next day during the CHIC jam session at Marenna for a little kitchen talk.
As mentioned in an earlier blog, the chefs on this particular day were asked to prepare a dish using the wide array of top quality ingredients available.  My eyes followed this young creative chef as he made his selections and then I joined him in the kitchen.
D'Amico had two dishes in mind.  I imediately asked about his first one as I saw him thinly slicing asparagus and placing them in sea water...

To absorb the flavors of the sea, he said...I plan on using them in my risotto...
A risotto with clams, asparagus, and ricotta cheese...

He prepared one  plate for the press table...so that we could enjoy the colors, the presentation and his creativity...

Risotto con asparagus,  clams, and ricotta

And then a plate for some of the lucky few who waited patiently in the kitchen.   I was surprised at how well the flavors blended together and how light and delicate the dish was.

As I finished my last spoonful, I noticed that D'Amico was ready to plate up his next dish. In a saucepan, simmering slowly and silently, was a tomato sauce made with tomatoes from a small town near Salerno called Corbara.  Inside the saucepan, he placed small cubes of toasted bread to make a pancotto, an Italian bread soup. He plated this first...
Then added a small disc of cod which he tenderly beat for a few moments.  A touch of basil...a drizzle of olive oil, and the dish was ready.

Pancotto with tomatoes from Corbara and cod
 As I followed this dish to the press table to snap a few shots, I could see the chef plating up a few extras.
I'll be right there, I whispered...just a couple more shots....


Too late....D'Amico was plating up the last bit that remained...
Ok.   Just an excuse to visit the chef in his own kitchen.  Le Macine in Benevento.
A visit...and some kitchen talk...








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