This week, the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts has the pleasure of welcoming visiting Chef Riccardo Benvenuti of Italy. Chef Benvenuti is spending the week in Chicago to spread his deep knowledge about Umbrian cuisine to our students and Chicagoans at Eataly Chicago. We caught up with the famous chef to talk about his trip!
Kendall College: Tell us about what you have planned for your trip to Kendall College?
Chef Benvenuti: When Università dei Sapori, where I work as chef instructor, offered me the opportunity to participate at an event at Kendall College, I was very happy and flattered to be visiting such an important college and to share my knowledge of Umbrian cuisine with many chefs and students in Chicago.
KC: What are you looking forward to during your experience in Chicago?
CB: I am looking forward to discovering new approaches to cooking and learning something new from each new person I meet. Each new experience is a challenge for me.
I also look forward to be in contact with all the different cultures that exist in Chicago, which I expect to be a city where I can assist at a fusion of different experiences and excitements.
KC: Eataly Chicago is hosting Umbrian Month. Can you give a preview of what foodies should look forward to from Umbrian cuisine?
CB: Umbrian Cuisine is known for its genuine ingredients and flavors and its simplicity. Our emblems are wine, olive oil and truffle. These ingredients will be the basic characters for outstanding dishes.
KC: What are some of the hottest food trends in Umbria?
CB: Lately Umbrian cuisine has gone back to tradition, starting from the utensils used (earthen and stone pots) to the way ingredients are assembled. Street food has also gone back to being a trend. Our most typical example is a sandwich with Porchetta – a pork roast form central Italy that recalls the tradition of pork processing from the town of Norcia (which the word Norcineria – Charcuterie – takes its name from) in Umbria. It is mainly found at street corners and eating it is a MUST when going to outdoor events.
KC: What advice would you have for a young culinary arts students wanting to begin cooking Umbrian recipes?
CB: The best advice I can give is to KEEP IT SIMPLE. Umbrian cuisine focuses on bringing out the authentic flavors of raw ingredients, whose primary feature is to be grown and produced in the territory that they are representing. Therefore I suggest to come to Umbria to learn about our products and also how to use them in the kitchen.