Enzo Fargione bringing Italian flair to Vail
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” Chef Enzo Fargione, who will be cooking in Vail, Colorado this week, grew up in Italy, where he learned to cook from his mother. Today he’s head chef at the acclaimed Italian restaurant Teatro Goldoni in Washington D.C.
Fargione will be a guest chef at this week’s Taste of Vail culinary festival. He plans a cooking demonstration at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Vail Marriott. Those who sign up will learn how to make Gorgonzola cheese risotto with candied red beets and toasted pistachio. Fargione talked to the Vail Daily about his days as a teenage chef, his love of duck eggs and why he prefers eating out over cooking at home.
1. Vail Daily: You grew up in Torino, Italy. In what ways do Italians and Americans approach food differently?
Enzo Fargione: For Italians, the food is art and a need. Passion, appreciation and respect come with that. For Americans, it has always been a cultural thing as we do not have “American cuisine” rather an infusion of ethnic traditions: Only in the past 15 years there has been a mass curiosity and awareness thanks also to the Food Network and food magazines.
2. Vail Daily: At 17, you became the first head chef at the Little Italy Gourmet in San Diego, Calif. What were the benefits and challenges of shouldering that responsibility at such a young age?
EF: Incredible responsibilities for a very confused project, but I have tried to organize it the best I could with the tools I was given. (It was) a good and constructive experience.
3. VD: Why did you choose Washington D.C. as the location for some of your most famous restaurants, such as Barolo and Teatro Goldoni?
EF: Washington is a very European-style city. Besides I felt right away at home from the first day I arrived almost 23 years ago.
4. VD: For you, is cooking at home completely different than cooking on the line? How so?
EF: Cooking at home is a day-and-night difference than cooking at the restaurant. It is virtually impossible to obtain the same results, therefore very frustrating, so I eat out often to solve the problem.
5. VD: If you had the power to ban a food from American supermarkets, what would it be?
EF: Ravioli from Chef Boyardee: It has nothing of Italian in it and it is labeled as such. It would be OK if they would sell it by calling it just food and not Italian food. That to me is insulting and wrong.
6. VD: If you were limited to eating one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
EF: I guess I must say pasta … you got me there.
7. VD: The public is getting more and more educated about authentic cuisine, techniques and ingredients. Does this give you as a chef more freedom or less?
EF: That does not necessarily give me more or less freedom. It just tells me to take care of every single detail as much as possible because an educated palate out there will spot my mistakes and I welcome continuous education.
8. VD: What ingredient or technique are you all fired up about?
EF: These days I love fresh duck eggs.
9. VD: What ingredient or technique are you just plain tired of?
EF: Tired of heavy sauces dated from 1900s and tired to occasionally see them on menus; there is so much more and better options restaurants can offer.
10. VD: What’s the best perk about being a chef?
EF: For me personally, the fact that I can fully express what I feel inside and being able to form it in a visual and tasteful way in order to share it so that the guest can see it materialize it right under their eyes, and by eating it, the ability to take that with them.
What: Cooking seminar with Enzo Fargione
When: 9:30 to 11 a.m. Friday
Where: Vail Marriott Mountain Resort and Spa, Vail
More information: Visit http://www.tasteofvail.com or call 970-926-5665