Culinary students expand palates Saturday at Il Fiorello

National Mortgage News

| Culinary students expand palates Saturday at Il Fiorello

Before her first cooking class at Il Fiorello, Fairfield resident Bobbie Wroten entered unseasoned in the vast but often uncharted landscape tomatoes have to offer.

However, following an all encompassing experience in which the group created various tomato-based dishes, picked fresh tomatoes from the garden and learned about the wide range of olive oils, Wroten left with a breadth of knowledge as ripe as the tomatoes she found atop her plate.

“I learned a lot about tomatoes today,” Wroten said. “Because for me, I usually put tomatoes on my sandwich or on my salad. But you come here and find out that there’s so much more you can do that you wouldn’t even consider.”

With San Francisco-based Bay Area Travel Writers Inc. photographers and wordsmiths soaking in the sites of the family-owned establishment, courtesy of Visit Fairfield, the 20-person group of enthusiastic and intrigued students participated in the Everything Tomato Culinary Class.

But the plethora of tomato-centric creations weren’t confined to the plate.

With the mindful guidance of Executive Chef Gloria Ciccarone-Nehls, Sous Chef Genevieve Upp and Owner Ann Sievers, the collection of novice chefs fashioned a myriad of uncommon recipes.

While being able to enjoy everything on the menu, the group of students learned how to make tomato-chevre tarts, baked polenta with roasted tomato coulis, tomato vinaigrette, marinara sauce and a popular menu item called “The Stack,” which was comprised of summer garden tomatoes, eggplant, arugula, mozzarella and tomato-leccino vinaigrette. The day of cuisine even included a tomato-basil-tangelo sorbet and tomato-tini.

With husband and co-owner Mark Sievers with their daughter in Portland, Ore., speaking with the American Society of Wine Educators to a 50-person group, Ann was busy but benefited from the dedicated assistance of her team of chefs.

“Having chefs like Gloria and Genevieve help make this special,” she said. “We pick our cooking classes depending on the season … We want people to play with their food and experiment. I challenge my staff to come up with ways to talk about foods and create them.”

Although there was a lot to accomplish throughout the three-hour class that ended around 2 p.m., the quaint and cozy nature of the culinary class provided a welcoming dynamic that the longtime Fairfield resident appreciated. Enough so, she hopes to bring her daughter and son-in-law to Il Fiorello for the class in December.

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“It’s a nice sized class but I didn’t feel lost,” Wroten said. “I was able to ask questions when I wanted to and they were very good at answering those questions. They’ve made me feel very good and I felt very comfortable with this group.”

Prior to the next culinary class in October, which will feature pumpkin and specific olive oil pairings, Il Fiorello will open its doors once again for the 26th Annual Fairfield Tomato Festival and Tomato Cooking Competition Aug. 19. With four categories that include salsa, sauce, salad and soup, participants will be able to vie for a top spot and prize that includes a special gift for each top placer and $75 in cash.

For specific rules about the competition or other information about Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company classes later this year, visit www.IlFiorello.com.

http://www.thereporter.com/general-news/20170812/culinary-students-expand-palates-saturday-at-il-fiorello

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