A Month of Fashion and Fun

Greetings and Happy May to all of you!

After a busy month, I’m finally coming up for air and reflecting on the great results of our hard work. This has been a very interesting month, partly because I was able to get back in touch with a different aspect of art that I think is very cool.  In the past I’ve mentioned that I’m always drawn to work with art related organizations, and recently I got to indulge my fascination with fashion.  Yes fashion!  I love clothes, I love to shop when possible, and I love the idea of wearing the latest creations from the fashion world.  And of course I love Italian designers.

So I was thrilled when we had the privilege to cater the Grand Opening Celebration for “Prada” in South Coast Plaza.  An Italian design house from Milan that dates back to 1913, Prada is one of my all time favorite designers. In the past few years we’ve had the opportunity to cater some high profile events for companies like Hermes, Louis Vitton, Missoni, and San Diego’s style mecca, Neiman Marcus, but this one truly was the ultimate experience for me and my staff.  We were awed by the sophistication of their operations. Prada USA strives for perfection, and they are as close to it as I’ve ever seen.

For example, all of our wait staff were dressed in Prada clothing, with every aspect of their outfits approved by the Milan office.  I was so impressed by how much care they took with each detail.  Precise attention to everything served included sending photos of each item for approval before preparation.  In the end, the menu was the perfect match for the occasion.

So between culinary delights, bubbly Prosecco and a super trendy audience, we celebrated the grand opening of this “MUST SEE” store where you will find items not available elsewhere.  To top it off, the store is located right next to another one of my Italian favorites, the shoe company “Tods.”  If you have the time (and the resources), go visit Prada in South Coast Plaza and enjoy the day OC style.

Winner of “Party of the Spring”….Lumina MMX

This month we’d like to begin celebrating some of the outstanding events in which we’re lucky enough to take part.  Our “Party of the Season” award is our way of recognizing some excellent events and the people behind them.  For this spring, the winner is hands-down the Bishop School.  On Saturday April 17th, we were involved in Lumina MMX, the annual Bishop School fundraiser and one of the best parties I’ve ever seen in this city.  Lumina MMX was chaired by Cecilia Aguerre and Molly Eldredge, two very sophisticated ladies who took the chance to change the standard set up and create something that was truly amazing.

With the help of one of my favorite event designers, Jim Lennox, Cecilia and Molly turned the gymnasium into a  super chic and colorful setting filled with bright colors (“lumina” translates to bright light in some languages), endless lighting effects, an elevated VIP stage and huge  Lanterna style balls hanging from the ceiling.

But it was the bold choice they made in the menu that was the most remarkable part of the evening for me.

From the planning stage, Cecilia and Molly made it clear that they were not interested in serving the usual steak and potatoes entree.  Instead they wanted to take a chance and serve fish. Yes, fish! And not an easy one to cook at that – Wild Alaskan Halibut.  Well, for me it was Game On!!  We all added our cultural perspectives, with Molly the nice American girl often squashed between the hot blooded points of view, meaning me the Italian and Cecilia the Argentinian.  The result was an International Menu that featured a great blend of all our heritages.

We started in the silent auction tent with a Truffle and Vermont Cheddar Grilled Cheese, accompanied by a shot of Local Asparagus soup. There were handcrafted Ravioli filled with Maine Lobster served in a light Vodka-Aurora Sauce.  Specialty drinks for the evening included fresh Tangerine Juice with Vodka and a splash of Prosecco, which was a delightful and not too heavy way to start the night.

We kicked off dinner with one of my own favorite dishes, ”Cured Bresaola,” complete with Wild Arugula, Parmiggiano, Citrus Juice, our own olive oil and seasoned with crunchy Pink Peppercorn and Sel Gris.  Following the starter was the Wild Alaskan Halibut seared to golden brown and then oven-baked, resting over a bed of Sautéed Chanterelle and Spring Peas. Smoked Red Pepper Coulis made a perfect dip. The finish was a Purple Peruvian Potato Purée.  Now THAT is a serious International menu, AND it incorporated all the bright colors we wanted.

The night ended back in the silent auction tent, which was transformed, again thanks to Jim, into a really cool disco Lounge with Rolling Stones music and a great night of dancing.

We were all wiped out at the end, and so glad that the party was such a success.  To Cecilia, Molly and the entire Bishop School, thank you for bringing us on board and we look forward to the next one to come!!!

DISH OF THE MONTH:  Warm Corn AND Cherry Tomato Salad with Grilled Shrimp

Are you ready for another one of my very favorite recipes?

One of the reasons I waited to write this month’s Giornale is that I was waiting for local farmers to start carrying this great ingredient:  Corn!  As we approach the “Grilling Season,” I find myself invited to great backyard parties with family and lots of kids.  I’m always asked, “What are you making?”  And I have to wonder if anyone can invite me without expecting me to cook, and if they didn’t ask me to cook, would I bring something anyway?

So last week we had a great party for some friends and I was in charge of the grill. So I took the opportunity to grab some fresh corn and have some fun with it.  The Roasted Corn was a big hit, so I’m sharing it with you.  Trust me when I say it is super easy to make.  If you do it right it will knock your socks off, or flip flops off, whatever the case may be.  Like most of my recipes, the dish can be adapted for different purposes.  If you want to serve it without the Shrimp, it makes a great side dish with any protein.

INSALATA TIEPIDA DI GRANTURCO & POMODORINI CON GAMBERI GRIGLIATI

(Warm Corn AND Cherry Tomato Salad with Grilled Shrimp)


RECIPE

4 cobs of Corn
1 basket of Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes (cut in half)
8 snipped Chives
4 Tbsp Fresh Basil (Chiffonade, aka cut in very thin strips)
1 Cup Feta Cheese
16 to 20 Shrimp or Tiger Shrimp
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper

Brush the corn with a little olive oil and roast until golden brown.  Take kernels off the cobb, add the basil, snipped chives, cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup of feta, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Mix all together. Top with remaining feta and drizzle the rest of the olive oil.
Once done, brush the shrimp with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and place them on the grill for about 2 minutes on each side.
Remove Shrimp and place them all around the (5 pp) Corn &Tomato Salad.
Garnish plate with a nice center leaf of fresh basil.
Enjoy!!

What’s New?

OPEN KITCHEN TABLE

When you want an extra-special culinary experience, what do you do?  Do you try to get a Chef Table at a high profile restaurant?  Or maybe you take a big trip to a “destination restaurant” with travel costs and big crowds?  For many reasons, these options aren’t ideal.  For one, these choices always involve astronomical costs.  And how “special” do you feel when you get put on a waiting list for a chef table, or when the only reservation you can get is for 11:00pm?

Recently I had a great culinary experience that combined the value factor with hands-on involvement, and the guests had a great time!

Last year while catering a charity event for Las Patronas, I offered a gift for the raffle, which consisted of a “Party for 20 at Giuseppe’s Kitchen”.  The lucky winner had the chance to use that prize a few weeks ago.

We opened our kitchen, invited the guests and guess what? We made them cook with us! We gave each one a task to complete as we prepared dinner,  and our bartenders mixed some killer lemon drops which helped everyone to relax right away.  By the end of the hors d’oeuvres, everyone was having a blast.  I popped in a Latin CD to give us a quick beat as we moved around the kitchen.  When we were done with preparations, we all sit down at a long table and we had our dinner family style, just like we would do at home in the Farmhouse.  The menu that night featured some of my family’s recipes, including the famous Mamma Angela’s Artichokes and many more.

One of the guests opened a Magnum of Barolo 2005 that was to die for.  And there we were, eating and laughing just as if we were in the middle of some remote wine country.  We finished off dinner with Frangelico Truffles, Apricot and Pistachio biscotti and of course…my homemade Limoncello – a sweet final touch that I would blame for any hangovers the next day.

So after thinking about the party, I decided that we should host more parties and call it the OPEN KITCHEN TABLE.  If you want to know more about Open Kitchen Table, email me and I will discuss the set up in person. Open Kitchen Table is great for birthdays or celebrations, especially when you want a culinary experience that’s “extra-special”.

Welcome Larry!

I’m very pleased to announce our newest staff member, Larry Rinehart. For many years, Larry owned one of the most successful companies in San Diego. After selling it, he did a lot of traveling, all the while staying plugged in to local business community. When he was picked to lead the Culinary team for the winter Olympics, his passion for food and entertainment was rekindled. Now back in San Diego, Larry joins us as our new Director of Business Development. He will focus on our charity programs and community outreach, as well as menu development and sales strategies.

Larry, you’re now officially a Giuseppe Fine Catering Member…welcome on Board!!

The San Diego Museum of Art SCULPTURE COURT CAFÉ

After being closed for almost 3 months waiting for the new canopy, we reopened the doors of the Sculpture Court Cafe on May 4th. We are so excited to reopen, so it’s definitely “Game On” in the park!

As we approach the summer, we see the park getting more visitors every day.  The San Diego Museum of Art has started to promote the venue for  special events, so there’s quite a buzz in Balboa Park these days.

Starting June 15th, we will extend our business hours to 8:00 pm Tuesday to Saturday. Everyday between 3pm and 6pm, you can come by and enjoy a fabulous HAPPY HOUR in the park. Try one of our signature drinks, the Balboa Paloma, with some great truffle fries or a plate of cured Salumi.

We look forward to seeing you there!

School Graduation Parties

Guys, I see this happen every year.  Graduations sneak up on families and they get stressed out making last minute party arrangements when it’s supposed to be a happy occasion.

All I’m going to say is don’t wait until it’s too late to place your catering order! If you haven’t tried it already, a graduation party makes the perfect time to order from our Giuseppe Specialty Menu.  Throughout the year, we’ve seen great success with the Specialty Menu, which is made for “no fuss entertaining.”  We do need a little lead time, so call soon.  We are almost sold out for the month of June!  (how to order)

That’s all for now. Have a great long weekend and I look forward to connecting with you again next month.

As always, Mangia Bene e Vivi Meglio,

Truly Yours,
Giuseppe