academia barilla  June 2008

Italian Food Lovers Chef Network: let’s welcome Cathy and Tony Mantuano

We have the pleasure today to introduce a new Guest Chef [...]

Italian Food Lovers Chef Network We have the pleasure today to introduce a new Guest Chef for the Italian Food Lovers Chef Network. We will continually introduce a new Guest Chef each month, while the Chefs already introduced will keep sending us one recipe per month, each month! Wow, by the end of the year this will be a top Chef recipe bonanza, and of course we all love it!


This month we won’t only introduce renowned Chef Tony Mantuano, but also wine expert Cathy Mantuano. James Beard award-winning chef Tony Mantuano is Chef and Partner of Spiaggia, the only 4-star Italian restaurant in Chicago! Chef Mantuano and wine expert and wife Cathy recently released a new cookbook titled Wine Bar Food that features Academia Barilla products in the book!!! They also are running a casual dining café-restaurant called Café Spiaggia that complements the recently launched exclusive shoreside Private Dining Rooms of Spiaggia. And there will soon be an event with Zagat next month!

Wait, wait, too much info, let’s start introducing both our new Guest Chef and wine expert.

Chef Tony Mantuano, as reported on his bio published on the Spiaggia Restaurant site, “loves green, fruity olive oil, rare Italian cheeses, woodsy porcini mushrooms and the riches of Italian gastronomy“, which he considers “every day specialties“.


After spending one year in Italy back in 1983, learning all he could about traditional Italian cooking and working at a number of Guide Michelin-rated restaurants near Milan and on the Tuscan coast in Viareggio, Chef Tony Mantuano learned to prepare regional specialties that few Americans had ever experienced.

spiaggia-italian-restaurant-chicago When Chef Mantuano opened Spiaggia Restaurant in 1984, he was widely acclaimed as a trailblazer of fine Italian cuisine, with reviews from the Chicago Tribune calling Spiaggia “the best high-end Italian restaurant between the coasts” and describing the Italian restaurant as “a jewel” and the food as “spectacular“.

While operating also his family’s restaurant, Mangia, in his native Kenosha, Wisconsin, Chef Mantuano took Spiaggia for a new spin in 2000, reshaping the restaurant’s traditional menu into “an exemplar of contemporary Italian cuisine,” with signature dishes such as Crescenza Cheese-Filled Pasta Pillows with Parmigiano-Reggiano, Brown Butter, Rosemary and Garlic, or the Succulent Roasted Turbot with Sunchoke Puree, Porcini Mushrooms and Veal Mushroom Sauce.

wine-bar-food-mantuano Tony Mantuano is the author, with co-author and wife Cathy Mantuano, of “The Spiaggia Cookbook: Eleganza Italiana in Cucina” (Chronicle Books 2004, awarded as one of the twenty-five best cookbooks of 2004 by Food & Wine). He also has appeared nationally on CNN and PBS, is a regular contributor to the local ABC, CBS and FOX affiliates in Chicago, and has been a guest on popular food talk shows, such as “The Frank DeCaro Show” and “Food Talk with Rocco DiSpirito.”

In 2004, Zagat Survey awarded Spiaggia the “Best Italian Restaurant in Chicago” and the restaurant was named one of the Top five in Chicago by Chicago Magazine. Chef Mantuano also received Chicago Tribune’s “Good Eating Award” and James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: MidWest Award in 2005.


The recent launch of the fashionable Cafe Spiaggia, in the heart of the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, brought the dimension of the neighborhood cafe sanctuary and casual dining room in the fast pace of Michigan Avenue, creating a new well-known neighborhood Chicago favorite.

Chef-Partner Tony Mantuano and wine expert Cathy Mantuano, their cookbooks and their restaurants get plenty of rave reviews from the likes of Forbes blogs, Chicago Sun Times, Food & Wine, Condé Nast Traveler on, and

Spiaggia’s address is One Magnificent Mile (on the corner of Michigan and Oak) – 980 North Michigan Avenue, Level 2, Chicago, Illinois 60611 – Google Map for your driving directions here below.

For more info on Tony Mantuano please check Spiaggia’s and Cafe Spiaggia’s web pages.

spiaggia-cookbook If you are interested in the Italian cookbooks published by Tony and Cathy Mantuano, you can purchase them online at Barnes and Noble and Wine Bar Food is also available at

Or, if you live in the Chicago Area and can’t wait to catch up in person with Tony and Cathy, they have a book signing and demo scheduled on July 2nd beginning at 2 p.m. as part of the Taste of Chicago. They will be located outside the Zagat pavilion signing copies and showcasing recipes from Wine Bar Food – save the date!

This is getting quite long for a blog post, so we cut it here to introduce to you wine expert Cathy and Chef Tony Mantuano with their first gourmet recipe tomorrow!

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