Show 140, October 3, 2015: Piero Selvaggio, Valentino and Columbus Day Dinner Feast

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Santa MonicaIn 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


Show 5: November 10, 2012: Piero Selvaggio of Valentino Restaurtant

Piero Salvaggio of Valentino Restaurant in Santa Monica, Houston and Las VegasVery few fine dining restaurants in Los Angeles survive for 5 years so an establishment which is celebrating 40 years of success under the same ownership is real news! Such is the case with Valentino in Santa Monica under the watchful eye of L.A.’s consummate and most gracious host, Piero Selvaggio.

Unbelievably after 40 years Piero still can’t wait for the doors to open nightly at Valentino so he can greet and seat his loyal guests. That’s the art of hospitality.

Valentino’s remarkable wine cellar is known and respected internationally. It’s one of the most comprehensive in the United States with some 1,200 selections and 70,000 bottles!
November 14th is the “Forty Years, Forty Dishes and Forty Wines at Valentino” Anniversary Dinner. Executive Chef Nico Chessa and Pastry Chef Allessandro Stroppa will collaborate with guest chefs Celestino Drago and Steve Samson. The menu of 40 courses and 40 wines (small bites and 2 oz. wine pours) will be inspired by the cuisine of Sicily’s most revered chef, Ciccio Sultano, to commemorate the 40 years of Valentino and the dishes of Sardinia and Sicily, Piero’s birthplace.

December 4th is the “Valentino 40th Anniversary While Truffle Dinner and Celebration.” The evening features Walter Ferretto of the multi-starred Cascinale Nuovo in Asti, Piedmonte along with Valentino alumni chefs Luciano Pellegrini, Angolo Auriana, Davide Giova and Valentino Executive Chef Nico Chessa and Pastry Chef Alessandro Stroppa. This ultimate white truffle dinner with 10 courses includes a course with white truffles freshly harvested the night before and hand carried by Ferretto from Asti. The menu will feature signature dishes from the history of Valentino created by the alumni chefs.