If you're a Food Network fan, you might recognize our next guest. Iron Chef America judge Mario Rizzotti is in Sioux Falls to teach some classes at Plum's Cooking Company Thursday afternoon, and he'll be serving up a dinner at Sanaa's 8th Street Gourmet in the evening.
Chef Rizzotti was born and raised in Italy, but has lived in America for the last 23 years. He says many of the things that Americans consider "Italian" foods are not actually authentic Italian cuisine. That includes things like fettuccine alfredo, marina sauce, and "Italian beef." Chef Rizzotti says although those things are delicious, that are not authentic Italian! He says one of his passions is teaching people what authentic Italian foods are, and it's why he started a tour called "4 the Love of Italian Food." He's spending four days in four cities around the country teaching classes about food. It's also why he's in Sioux Falls this week teaching classes at Plum's Cooking Company and serving a dinner at Sanaa's.
Chef Rizzotti says a good extra virgin olive oil is something Italians will finish their foods with, not cook with it. He says if you want to identify an authentic Italian product, look for packaging that says "Product of Italy," and not "Packaged in Italy" or "Imported from Italy." He says to test for a good EVOO, he says to taste it-- not with breads, but drink it straight from a glass. Chef Rizzotti says bread it not the best way to taste food. It's the best way to enjoy food, but not to taste test it. He compared it to taste testing your coffee with a piece of bread-- you drink coffee straight to test the roast of the beans and brew. Similarly, Chef Rizzotti says to drink EVOO. He says a good EVOO will not coat your mouth with a film. Professionals will taste it like a wine tasting; it starts with smelling it, then slurping it in your mouth to heat it up, then swallowing. He says sometimes it makes people cough because of the pepperiness of the oil, but he says to stay calm and don't drink water-- just breathe and it will pass! Chef Rizzotti says you can find a good EVOO in stores, but always make sure to look for that "Product of Italy" marking on the packaging.
Chef Rizzotti will be teaching at Plum's Cooking Company this afternoon at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. His dinner at Sanaa's is at 6 p.m. but it already sold out!