(Photos and interviews by Sandy Zimmerman)
The aroma of Italian food filled the air as guests walked through the Palazzo Resort’s Waterfall Atrium.
It was like stepping into a fantasy world as the large holiday displays brightened the path to the chef’s tables.
In an Italian village-like setting, the restaurants featured their specialties and cookbooks. At each table, the Venetian and Palazzo Resort’s chefs prepared their delicacies in front of the guests. They explained all the steps for cooking their famous recipes.
Nicole Brisson, Executive Chef of the Carnevino Ristorante and Steakhouse, explained, “We are offering tasting plates of our house-made pastrami with an autumn salad of Tahitian butterscotch squash, pickled onions and arugula.”
This is Carnevino’s co-owners Chef Mario Batali and winemaker Joe Bastianich’s first steakhouse. The duo also owns the B&B Ristorante, Ocho Pizzeria and just opened B&B Burgers and Beer.
Buddy V’s Ristorante presented their food across a large table. Chef Kim Canteenwalla presented Barrata cheese with shaved prosciutto, poached pear and figs. Co-owner Buddy Valastro stars in the The Learning Channel TV series “Cake Boss”.
The Olive Oil Tasting table added a selection of flavored olive oils not usually seen. Guests learned how to taste olive oil.
La Cucina Italiana was a festival of Italian food and wine. Of course, the famous Italian wineries attended the event.
One of the participants Valentino Sciotti, owner of the Caldora Winery, carries on the royal legacy of the Farnese Winery which once belonged to Princess Marguerite of Austria and Prince Otavio Farnese.
Mixologists brought their expertise to the affair by showing the latest Italian-style cocktail recipes.
Mario Batali and butcher Dario Cecchini (the famed “singing Butcher of Panzano) presented a special demonstration on the main stage. After butchering a whole pig onstage, Batali and Cecchini showed how they selected the belly, legs and other cuts.
Throughout the event, the main stage was busy with cooking demonstrations. Their topics included How to Make Pizza, How to Bring Meat to a New Level, How to Make the Grandest Italian Cake, How to Make artisanal salumi and more.
Salumi is an Italian word meaning cured or salted meat. Salumi differs from salami as salami is a specific salumi.
For three hours, the guests enjoyed asking questions, learning Italian recipes and tasting the food.
One of five events, La Cucina Italiana featured cuisine from all regions of Italy. The festival offered a rare opportunity to meet the famous chefs from the Venetian and Palazzo Resort’s restaurants.
The La Cucina Italiana event benefited “Keep Memory Alive” at the Cleveland Clinic.
Award winning Sandy Zimmerman has been involved in producing television programs, TV commercials, infomercials and travel specials for 25 years. Sandy is a syndicated Show and Dining Reviewer, travel writer, professional photographer and talk show host of the Las Vegas Today Show and Discover the Ultimate Vacation travel specials. For information or questions about any of Sandy’s columns, contact Sandy Zimmerman at (702)-735-5974.