academia barilla  August 2007
   

Barilla Italian Cooking Weekend at The Garden Chefs Series: a Weekend at the Chicago Botanic Garden

During the last weekend of July the Academia Barilla and Barilla USA [...]

Chicago Botanic Garden

During the last weekend of July the Academia Barilla and Barilla USA teams had a great time at The Garden Chef Series, an annual gourmet event held at the Chicago Botanic Garden, a beautiful garden in Northwest Chicago, Illinois.

Barilla logoBarilla, whose US headquarters are in Chicago, has been the host and the Presenting Sponsor of the Garden Chef Series for the last few years.
The Garden Chefs Series runs a long calendar, starting on May 26 and ending on October 7, with culinary performances every Saturday and Sunday at 1:30 and 2:30 p.m.

Cooking demonstrations are free (normal parking fees apply) and reservations are generally not needed; we advise Italian Food Lovers to get to the Chicago Botanic Gardens anyway, as seating is on a first come first served basis, and the amphitheater, venue of the cooking event, holds approximately 125 people. Click on the Google Maps image below to get driving directions to the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Chicago Botanic Garden

Last July 28 and 29, the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden’s open-air amphitheater hosted the Barilla Italian Cooking Weekend, a special event included in The Garden Chefs Series.

Regenstein Fruit Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden

During the weekend a group of top Chefs prepared gourmet recipes with garden-fresh ingredients, of course using Barilla and Academia Barilla Italian food specialties.

Academia Barilla and Barilla Italian food products

The event was crowded, as you can see from the picture below.

Academia Barilla Events: The Great Chef Series

Academia Barilla Events: The Great Chef Series

The schedule of culinary performances at the Chicago Botanic Garden has been pretty packed too, for the joy of the Italian food lovers who attended the gourmet event.

Academia Barilla at The Great Chef Series

Here is the Chefs line-up for the Barilla Italian Cooking Weekend::

Saturday, July 28
11:30 – Ken Chaffin, Sunset Foods
12:30 – Oil and vinegar, Mario Rizzotti, Academia Barilla
1:30 – David Teichman, Bluegrass
2:30 – Oil and vinegar, Mario Rizzotti, Academia Barilla
3:30 – Lorenzo Boni, Barilla USA

Sunday, July 29
11:30 – Art Smith, personal Chef to Oprah Winfrey
12:30 – Oil and vinegar, Mario Rizzotti, Academia Barilla
1:30 – Robert Avila, Trattoria Bacci
2:30 – Oil and vinegar, Mario Rizzotti, Academia Barilla
3:30 – Lorenzo Boni, Barilla USA

Academia Barilla Events: The Great Chef Series

In the picture above, award-winning Chef Art Smith, Barilla USA Executive Chef Lorenzo Boni, and Academia Barilla Italian Culinary Specialist Mario Rizzotti in a moment of relax at the Chicago gourmet show. In the picture below, you can see Chef David Teichman of Bluegrass while performing his gourmet recipe.

Academia Barilla at The Great Chef Series

Another moment of the gourmet weekend, with an happy Italian food lover winning the survey raffle organized by Academia Barilla.

The Great Chef Series

After the event, Barilla USA received an email from Karen Nicolopoulos, an Italian food lover who lives in Park Ridge, IL, and attended the Garden Chef Series at the Chicago Botanic Garden. We received a copy of the email from Barilla USA, and we want to publish it as it is to share with you Karen’s excitement about the Chicago gourmet event:

Hi! I attended the Barilla Italian week end at the Botanic Gardens in Glenco, IL on Saturday. Thank you for the wonderful presentation and “goodie bag.” I love Barilla pasta… it is all we use in our home. The Barilla Plus is hands down the best high fiber pasta on the market!

Mario Rizzotti shared so much information and we learned so much. His personality was charming and endearing as he maneuvered thru the audience to share a seat with others as the guest chefs were presenting. We quickly went to the gift shop to buy both olive oil and vinegar!

Chef Lorenzo Boni was also extremely delightful and informative. His two pasta dishes were fantastic! I am delighted to have the hot pasta recipe for Zucchini Onion pasta. Although I watched him make the pasta salad, I was wondering if I could get a copy of the recipe. It was oven dried cherry tomatoes with parsley, Parma salami and cheese. It was the best pasta salad I have ever had. I loved the tip of cooking the pasta al dente and then spreading it out on a cookie sheet.

Thank you in advance,
Karen Nicolopoulos, Park Ridge, IL.

Dear Karen, thank you for your nice comments – we promise you we will surely publish the recipe from Lorenzo Boni tomorrow here on our blog! And yes, we know our Italian Culinary Specialist Mario Rizzotti has a great personality and excellent Chef’s and demo skills.

Academia Barilla: The Great Chef Series

We blogged several times about Mario Rizzotti’s TV performances as both Chef on Channel Fox8, Judge at the popular Iron Chef TV competition, or about his involvement with Food Network. Here below a picture of Mario during one of his four culinary performances at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Academia Barilla Events: The Great Chef Series

Chicago Botanic GardenA note about the “goodie bag” mentioned by our friend Karen: The Great Chefs Series attendees took home a free bag of presents that included Sweet Genovese basil seedling, a packet of Italian flat-leaf parsley seeds and a copy of the Kitchen Garden Newsletter, with helpful tips for growing and cooking seasonal produce, all kindly provided by the Chicago Botanic Garden.

This is all for now, but we promise Karen and all our Italian food lovers friends that we’ll be back tomorrow posting at least a couple of gourmet recipes from Chef Lorenzo Boni and other great Garden Chefs who rocked the Chicago Botanic Garden with the Barilla Italian Cooking Weekend.

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