In September, Barilla brought together a select group of chefs from a variety of foodservice operations from across the country to our new North American headquarters outside of Chicago, for an immersion into the latest culinary trends, from regional Italian to healthier cuisine. It’s all in keeping with our mission to offer services and partnerships in menu innovation “beyond the box” of pasta. Since we can’t take all of you dear readers with us, we thought of sharing a bit of it here. If you’re interested in attending future events like this one, let us know by sending a note to your Barilla representative or [email protected].
A clear highlight of the event was a personally guided culinary tour of Chicago from trends guru and Gordon Foodservice Corporate Chef Gerry Ludwig. In a very full day of eating and drinking, (really, it was hard work!) we visited Stephanie Izard’s Little Goat Diner, Richard Sandoval’s Latinicity Food Hall, The Publican, Dutch-Indonesian standout de Quay, the Duck Inn and the hot cocktail bar Moneygun. It brought to life – and to the palate – a rich and vibrant Chicago food scene, with the latest in Veg-centric cuisine, farm-to-table and ethnic concepts both authentic and mashups. A common thread could be seen in the casual, approachable food and atmosphere at all of the stops. Even when the food was sophisticated, it was never fussy or pretentious.
On our day at the Barilla HQ, attending chefs learned all about regional Italian cuisine from Barilla’s own Executive Chef, and Bologna native, Lorenzo Boni. They were then able to put their education to the test by teaming up to creative their own original regional Italian dishes to be enjoyed by everyone. For example, the team that drew Northern Italy created a rigatoni with roasted duck, red wine and cabbage with duck crackling as a garnish – making full use of ingredients and techniques appropriate to their assigned part of Italy.
“It’s so important to get out of your kitchen and see what’s going on in the industry, especially when you get to see what’s going on in a culinary town like Chicago.” – David Cox, corporate executive chef for Norms Restaurants, a 24-hour diner concept with 18 locations in Southern California.
Here are a few images of some of the dishes that came out of the kitchens during the retreat — kudos to the amazing talents of the chefs in the group!