Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Summer School - Don Alfonso 1890, Sant'Agata Sui Due Golfi (Na)

After eating numerous times at a restaurant, visiting the kitchen and watching closely as the chef and his brigade prepare top class dishes the next step is obvious.  Sign up for a cooking class!  That's just what I did recently, I signed up and attended a lezione di cucina at the the 2 star Michelin restaurant Don Alfonso 1890. Their Mediterranean cuisine classes are held 5 days a week -Wednesday through Sunday.   Each day has a different theme focusing on topics such as vegetables, pasta, desserts, meats, and fish; which is what I chose.

I was filled with nervous excitement as I browsed through my cooking school packet which not only included the three recipes that we'd be preparing that day, but information on the Mediterranean diet and food hygiene.

The class was just the right size; two young American couples on vacation from the US, my 16 year old son, and I.  Don Alfonso's Silvana Amato helped us with our aprons, poured us a glass of Greco di Tufo and then took her place alongside Chef Nicola Pignatelli, the restaurants sous chef.

Chef Nicola Pignatelli
Silvana Amato and Pignatelli

Ciao, Karen!  Oggi ti faccio lavorare! Today, I'll make you work! Pignatelli said with a smile.

So over the next three hours or so, I along with my classmates worked alongside Pignatelli to prepare three fabulous fish dishes. Together we cleaned and filleted the fish, we sliced and diced the fresh vegetables and herbs that came straight from the restaurant's organic farm located 15 minutes away. Together we spent three hours of learning, laughing, and lovin' every minute of it!

  • Tasty morsels of ricotta cheese and nettles with a gurnard fish consomme'...

  • Dentex in bread crust and spring vegetables...

  • Reef fish 'acqua pazza' style...

Of course after all of our hard work, we sat down with a glass or two of wine and were able to enjoy our creations.  Our 2 Michelin starred lunch prepared with Sous chef Nicola Pignatelli who patiently showed us tips and gave us valuable advice on how we could duplicate the dishes at home.

Ciao, Karen!  Oggi ti faccio lavorare! 
Yes, Chef!

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