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Question about italian kitchen

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

Hi to everybody...

 

I am Simone and I am writing from Italy, Bologna.

 

I have a question: talking with a lot of you I image that the italian kitchen that you know isn't the italian kitchen that we use here in Italy...

 

I agree with some friends that thinks that the emigrant have led in USA their traditional kitchen. The most of emigrant were from South Italy so the kitchen that you know as Italian kitchen is really the kitchen of only few region of South Italy.

 

Do you think that if you can eat in a real italian Restaurant or Trattoria do you like?

 

I am very concerned about this because i have a restaurant in Bologna and I would like to come to USA to open an original italian Restaurant and a Culinary School...

 

Thank to all

post #2 of 30

You will find that americans have embraced the cuisine of Italy in its entirety.  If you dine in NY you will find italian restaurants that each showcase the cuisine of a different region of Italy.  Americans are open to cuisine of all the countries in the world.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #3 of 30

Every Italian friend I have thinks his family makes the best Italian Dishes. I have been in Italy many times and to be honest favor Northern Italy I find the cuisine a little more complex then the rest of Italy. This is only my opinion and everyone has there own. When I traveled Italy I made it a point to eat in ,many Trattorias and family operated places to get the real feel of the reeonal cuisine.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #4 of 30

I love the cooking from Liguria and Tuscany.

post #5 of 30

Simone, Americans (in the U.S.) are becoming more aware that the various regions have different cuisines. I live in the Midwest (near Milwaukee, about 125 km north of Chicago), and it's true where I live too. I lived for 18 years in a town south of here that boasted many Italian restaurants, but nearly all of them featured food from Calabria, from where most of its immigrants had come. The subtleties were few, mostly concerned with whose red sauce was better. You could eat pizza every day in Kenosha and never have the same one- but they were pretty much influenced by Calabria. Recently, dishes from other regions are becoming available. Specialty shops have more and more ingredients from the north (although items from Friuli and other eastern areas are less available).

 

I suppose you'll have to visit! New York is spectacular, but don't neglect the other 3,000 miles to the west. :D

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post #6 of 30
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all, your answers are very concerned...I like to know what you thinks about Italian kitchen...

post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simone Metalli View Post

Thanks to all, your answers are very concerned...I like to know what you thinks about Italian kitchen...



I believe it depends on what state and location you open. Some areas in the US are over saturated with Italian places. In New York there is one or a pizzeria on every other street. Some areas you will go will tell you your food is not Italian , because they only know garlic, tomatoes, oregano and red sauce. LOCATION< LOCATION>LOCATION

 

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simone Metalli View Post

Thanks to all, your answers are very concerned...I like to know what you thinks about Italian kitchen...


What do I think about the Italian kitchen?  I love it, I am mediterranean and the italian cuisine has the same philosophy of food that I do.  But I also think it's the most exploited cuisine in the US.  There are more italian restaurants in any given city than there are other world cuisines put together. 

 

On the whole I find most italian restaurants to be old fashioned and not very good.  Most seem to be concerned with their red sauce or "gravy" as they like to call it here, as if italian cooking is all about one sauce.  I tend to stay away from places that claim their food to be "just like grandma's" because personally I'm not interested in eating old fashioned food from the 50's.  When I go to italy I find very updated and modern food, and when you eat here its' nothing like that at all unless you go to more upscale restaurants.  Restaurants run by italians tend to be better than restaurants run by italian americans, some of which have never even been to italy.  So it's a tricky.  Basically there is a lot of italian restaurants, many of them are great, most of them are terrible.  But I'm lucky enough to live in a city where there is an abundance of good ones so I shouldn't be complaining.  I did however grow up in the south where everyone went to The Olive Garden.

 

Oh no.... did someone say oregano? 
 

 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #9 of 30

Funny when I was in Tuscanni and asked people about the Olive Garden Cooking School that they advertise on TV.. Nobody new anything about it or heard of i t???????  Sure sounds good though.  Only thing I will say about OG is yes it is consistant, thats all I will say.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #10 of 30

I cannot, obviously talk for the American-Italian kitchen.  But, here in the UK, our Italian restaurants show off the cuisines of all regions of Italy.  Maybe because many of our restaurants were started by Italian PoWs, who stayed after the end of WWII - married local girls and became part of Scotland.  The prisoners were from ALL regions of Italy - the cooking, ditto!

post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

Funny when I was in Tuscanni and asked people about the Olive Garden Cooking School that they advertise on TV.. Nobody new anything about it or heard of i t???????  Sure sounds good though.  Only thing I will say about OG is yes it is consistant, thats all I will say.


I laugh every time I see I that commerical, "nearly 100" are sent there every year ..... ummmm, so with amount of locations they have and factoring in turnover about 1/3 of your stores have 1 person who studied in Italy? You have better odds at my family reunion ;)
 

 

post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 

Nobody know the Olive Garden Cooking School in Italy...

post #13 of 30

Next time someone goes to Olive Garden ask the manager for the address and phone # of the school.   Thanks

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

Next time someone goes to Olive Garden


Why would I do a silly thing like that?

Oh, yeah, my wife's family may be coming to visit frown.gif


mjb.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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post #15 of 30

There are a lot of Italian restaurants in the DC area, but I can't say there isn't room for one more -- especially if it's a little more 'authentic' then most of the places.  For the most part, there are only a handful of really good Italian restaurants around here, and they are $$$.  There are quite a few inexpensive ones, but the food is all over the place.  I would love to see a nice trattoria that can put out consistant northern Italian food at reasonable prices.  Would love to see some that do real southern Italian as well (and Tuscano/ Umbria).

 

The only couple of Italian resturants I have been to in this area that truely reminded me of a meal in Italy are so expensive we only go once every year or two.  frown.gif

David
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post #16 of 30

We have lots and lots of genuine Italian restaurants in the UK.

 

We have a wonderful deli with its own restaurants in Edinburgh - I went to school with a daughter of one of the founding familes    http://www.valvonacrolla.co.uk/

post #17 of 30

nice wedding cake

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is To Short!!
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post #18 of 30
Thread Starter 

I have seen the site...I don't know...a real italian can't write Spinachi...it is Spinaci...or figi? I dont' know what is figi...Probably fichi...and noone eat Frittata con fava...I think it isn't a real italian restaurant...

 

I think that is possible to open a nice trattoria with low prices...my restaurant here in Bologna is not expensive...but is very important to save about the raw materials and the workforce...I mean in my family we are in 7...so we don't need to recruit employees to pay...

post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simone Metalli View Post

I have seen the site...I don't know...a real italian can't write Spinachi...it is Spinaci...or figi? I dont' know what is figi...Probably fichi...and noone eat Frittata con fava...I think it isn't a real italian restaurant...

 

I think that is possible to open a nice trattoria with low prices...my restaurant here in Bologna is not expensive...but is very important to save about the raw materials and the workforce...I mean in my family we are in 7...so we don't need to recruit employees to pay...



I question what you mean by "real" italian.  I think there are ways to incorporate new flavors in the mediterranean cuisine.  Just because your grandmother didn't make frittata con fava doesn't mean that it does not exist or that it does not have the ability to exist. 

 

 

 

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #20 of 30
Thread Starter 

Of course it exist I say only that is not a typical plate, I love frittata with onion for example. I think only that an italian restaurant can made something more typical than a frittata with fava...

post #21 of 30

First of all, anyone that calls OG Italian doesn't know real Italian cooking... I came from a family where my father was 1st generation Italian and my mother was English, Irish, Dutch & German so I was exposed to many different cuisines, being that my father had parents off the boat they ate Italian food. When my parents married my mother had to learn to cook Italian from my grandmother.  being that my grandparents were from the northern and southern coastal regions of Italy we grew up with a diverse home menu. I learned to make different dishes from my grandmother these are real homemade whatever you were able to put together dishes. Like so many cultures you use what's available to you and the different regions had thier everyday ingredients and that's what real Italian cooking is all about!

 

I can assure you that Italian food is not just "gravy, sauce, garlic and mozzarella, it's much much more than that. Most so called Italian eateries here are more American than Italian. Real Italian cooking is much more diverse and unfortunately not found as much in the US. So keep the dialog going and lets see more traditional Italian food brought to the masses, I'm sure they will enjoy it all as much as I do!

post #22 of 30

Simone - Authentic Italian restaurants do very well it almost every part of America, but you have to realize the culture differences to succeed.  (For a non- super high end restaurant) Americans do not typically spend more than 1 hour at dinner.  They also like choices.  The day menu is not very common or successful.  Americans like more choices and fewer courses.  They do not sit down for a 4 plus course meal with the exception of major holidays.  They also want to have a good mix of items to satisfy the individual tastes of the group.  The advantage is that, like mentioned by other posters, American's love Italian food with real Italians in the kitchen.  If you decide to go, I wish you well.

 

EDB - The Olive Garden's culinary institute in Tuscany does exist and is for real.  It is in Trentino, Italy and run by Chef Romana Nerri.  Having said that, I will add that I had the experience of working for them for a while, but neither have or will ever pay to eat there.  They are the epitome of Italian Fast-Casual.  Their recipes have good inspiration but are formulated to be made quickly on an assembly line by semi-skilled workers with a taste that conforms to all audiences. To compound this they use cheaper ingredients to lower cost base, do not account for ripeness/ size in quantity counts, and ensure that each meal is exact to the specs of every other meal in every restaurant across America.  They provide as good of a product as McDonalds.  (I do admit I sneak a Bic Mac now and again)

 


Edited by ChefHoff - 4/25/11 at 4:15pm
post #23 of 30
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your explanation, is very interesting...I didn't think about the time for a lunch for example...yes, here in Italy we spent a lot of time at the table...

post #24 of 30

Yes.  It is a wonderful experience dining in Italy.  I personally like the Italian way of dining much better, but time is money.  When I mentioned an hour I was referring to dinner.  Lunch is even quicker.  Most people want to be in and out in less than 30 minutes.   I have worked in over 15 different Italian restaurants in my lifetime.  From mom and pop pizza shops to Michelin star Italian cuisine.  No two were alike but all were successful.  Again Good Luck.

post #25 of 30

Simone............ As I've been to Italy and understand the VAST difference differences in what is Italian in Italy and what we "think" is Italian here in the US.   Sorry to say but it is our diversity in ethnic makeup here which causes a lot of the problem.   You've got all sorts of folks who have NO idea what real Italian food is like.  As mentioned above, most think that Olive Garden is "real" Italian.   For many years in our annual restaurant awards here in Orlando, FL, Olive Garden would always win Best Italian.

 

We have a very good Italian ristorante here in Winter Park where I live and he does a nice job but the prices are outrageous.   I've tried to coach the other local guy including playing in his kitchen to show him new ways of doing things but his patrons still order "veal parmigiana", "ravioli in a vodka sauce" and chicken marsala.  

 

The other problem for authentics here in the US is that the ingredients you can get in Italy, you can't get here.   The biggest item, to me, is Artichokes.   You get the most wonderful small purple artichokes that saute up beautifully and tender.   Here, our artichokes are huge roman globes and if you want the other... you go to the bank and get a loan first before going to the market to buy them.

 

Now, is there room for authentic cooking.. heck yes!!   Are there folks who would like to eat like they do in Italy?   Yes but they'll be very selective.   Our expensive restaurant here offers 1/2 orders (half by US standards) in pasta (primi) and will split a main course (secondi) so you can enjoy an authentic Italian meal.   When I can't go across the ocean, it can take me "home in my heart" for a few hours.

 

If you decide to do this, this group is perfect to bounce ideas off.   I know it can be a success if it's done right..

 

You have my address, so if you have more ideas... let me know!

 

Ciao!!

Buona fortuna!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
post #26 of 30

I FOUND THE OLIVE GARDEN SCHOOL !!!!!

YOU CAN ALSO GOOGLE  ZIP 76651

 

 

ItalyDowntownWatertower13StephenMichaels0408.jpg

 

panini

 

 

 


Edited by panini - 5/1/11 at 4:41am

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post #27 of 30

For a cuisine as hyper-individualistic and hyper-regional as Italian, I think we are going a bit overboard with the 'real' and 'authenticity' police business. OG does very well given the business model.

 

Except for the breadsticks. Those are horrible.

 

RE: The day menu, the Applebee's segment has been pushing the prix fixe concept pretty heavily in the past couple years. I think the market is more open to it now. You might have to sell it based on value rather then 'tasting menu' fanciness.

post #28 of 30
Thread Starter 

For panini: the site you have posted has some interesting plates...I think that they have studyed italian kitchen but some dishes aren't so tipycal...but I would like to eat here...

 

For FL....you are right...but i think that italian kitchen can be made less expensive....I would like to try to make it less expensive...

post #29 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simone Metalli View Post

Thanks for your explanation, is very interesting...I didn't think about the time for a lunch for example...yes, here in Italy we spent a lot of time at the table...


Hi Simone,

my impression is that Italians spend a lot of time at the table OR--- they don't ..... and when they don't they will tolerate a level of food that is so low it would make an american shudder. 

While i'm sure that those who come into your restaurant have plenty of time to eat, that's just because those people HAVE the time to eat, but most people don't. 

 

For instance, where i work (if you know rome, in Aventino - a very posh area, actually) there are several bars that cater to those who work in the area. 

 

They sell the worst sandwiches i have ever eaten - a dry roll (panino all'olio that's been sitting out two days) with a lot of REALLY horrendous cheap snack-bar commercial mayonnaise and a very thin slice of ham (prosciutto cotto) that is actually made of compressed scraps, and does not even cover the entire space of the roll, but sticks out enticingly in front so you think it's full.  Sometimes there will be a paper think slice of mozzarella.

 

Or they sell a salad that is made up in the morning and sitting there all day, dripping wet, with lettuce, horrible canned olives (it;s hard to find bad olives here but they do), pale cherry tomatoes all year round,  some dried-out grated carrot, small "bocconcini" mozzarelle - that taste of nothing (and who wants milky mozzarella in a salad of lettuce???) and (get this) CANNED CORN. 

 

And this is typical. 

I see these places FULL at lunch time.  I can't stand this food, and bring my own lunch to work. 

 

AND while an American would never consider having even the fastest meal standing up, most of those who eat in these bars eat standing.  They gulp down these terrible sandwiches standing at the crowded counter. 

 

So if you want a three course meal (and i would like to know just what job you can do here that gives you time to eat like that during the day) you have the alternative choice of eating crap standing at a crowded counter. 

 

Some try to give hot meals to the business crowd, and they have pre-made commercial frozen dinners - pasta dishes they defrost and warm in the microwave. 

 

Don't get me wrong, I do love italian food, and there are wonderful places to eat if you have time and can sit around for hours waiting to be waited on and all that, but this does not mean italians are necessarily very particular any more of what they put in their mouth. 

 

For one thing, there are very few places in Rome, maybe enough to count on the fingers of one hand, that will make a sandwich to order, that hasn't been sitting around all day since early morning, getting dry, where you can eat it sitting down.  And most people have to have sandwiches now for lunch.  .  (The exception is at a grocery store where they will make it up for you, and it can be quite exceptional, but you can't eat it there, and certainly can't sit down to eat it.  Also most of those close at lunch time). 

 

Perhaps in Bologna people have more time, they can make it home during lunch and their businesses have a two hour lunch break.  Not so in Rome.  And there are some places that have quite nice sandwiches and other lunch items like fresh pasta done quickly, grilled meat, etc, and cater to a faster crowd (the other place i work is in Trastevere, and there you can find a decent sandwich, or a quick meal) but what shocks me is to see how many people seem to be willing to eat the bad food they eat. 

 

 

"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #30 of 30

Siduri.. good points in that, even in Italia, there is the need to "hurry" but only at lunch.   I've never seen an Italian hurry through dinner!!!   Here in the US, lunch is a quick thing as well as most employers don't grant the time to enjoy a relaxing meal... 30 minutes at best!!!

 

Simone.. I agree with you; it can be done more inexpensively.... and without sacrificing the quality at all!!   I know it can be done.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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