In tribute to the Columbus Day holiday, Piero Selvaggio, the long-time proprietor of Santa Monica’s Valentino, hosts celebrated Chef Peppe Barone of Fattoria delle Torri in Modica, Piero’s humble birthplace in Sicily. Barone brings his protégé and brightest new star, Chef Antonio Colombo of Locanda Gulfi, to prepare the desserts for this exceptional dinner – Una Cena Siciliana a Quattro Mani.
Barone is credited for cultivating Sicilian cuisine and has earned worldwide recognition for his regional Italian cooking in Modica, now considered the gastronomical crown of Sicily. As Sicily’s ambassador of great food for over thirty years, Chef Barone has groomed multiple talents in his kitchen, including the acclaimed chefs Ciccio Sultano of Il Duomo and Pino Cuttaia of La Madia (both with two star Michelin restaurants), Accursio Craparo, Carmelo Chiaramonte and emerging gifted chef, Peppe Causarano.
Today, Barone oversees the kitchen at Ristorante Cenobio and runs Scuola Nosco, his cooking school – located in an old convent transformed into the hotel Antico Convento Ibla in Ragusa. Barone and Colombo, along with the Valentino kitchen team, will revisit a number of historical and classic Sicilian dishes and style them with a singular interpretation.
Highlights of the ‘grazing-style’ dinner will include Chef Barone’s signature Pasta with a Touch of Sicily – Sea Urchin, Baby Spinach, Ricotta and Candied Lemon; Rabbit Agrodolce; Cioccolate-Wrapped Hare and Chef Peppe’s Almond-Stuffed Suckling Pig.
Chef Colombo takes over the kitchen for the sweet part of the dinner with a pre-dessert of his striking desserts – Bread, Pear, Chocolate or “Il Sole” – Cream Tartlets with Saffron, Lemon, Strawberries and Capers. Concluding the dinner is a decadent indulgence of Sicilian desserts with tastings of Antonio Colombo’s impressive Egg of Colombo Dessert; Cannolo Millefoglio-Style with Citrus Sorbet; Bonajuto Bitter Chocolate Sticks and other Sicilian Surprises. Valentino’s executive chef, Tommaso Tarantino, coordinates the evening’s kitchen activities.
The wine program for the dinner has, naturally, been curated by Piero Selvaggio. Selvaggio will offer selected Sicilian wines, including a white, three reds and a “Passito” – a sweet wine cultivated from grapes slowly dried on straw to concentrate the juices – for the desserts. All selections will be offered at $30 a bottle, a reduction of 50% off the wine list pricing. All other Sicilian wines on the Valentino wine list will be offered at $30 bottle for the evening.
Since 1972 Piero Selvaggio and VALENTINO have made a significant contribution to the Los Angeles restaurant scene, introducing authentic Italian products, wine and regional cuisine to the public and nurturing many of our most influential chefs and restaurateurs. Selvaggio was recently profiled by PBS in their documentary The Italian Americans.
With its intimate dining rooms, unsurpassed wine cellar, and the consummate graciousness of owner Piero Selvaggio, VALENTINO remains the favored destination for some of the best dining in Los Angeles.