I know I am a couple of days behind, but I have to be honest… finding time to blog is nearly impossible with our packed schedule!
Our second day we dove into cooking after a short lecture by our instructor and Chef Extraordinaire, Chef Lorenzo Polegri. Among other top honors, Chef Polegri is a member of the prestigious James Beard Foundation and has cooked at the James Beard House many times.
Chef Polegri concentrates more on the adventure of cooking rather than spending time going over the details of measurements. If you want measurements you are provided with recipes, but I didn’t pick up a measuring cup or spoon all day. My group (my sister, brother-in-law and mother) were joined by five student from the Art Institute in the states who were all there on a two week culinary exchange.
Our first task was to break down a side of beef that had come from a local farm. I just love that almost everything we work with is from the region that we are in. In other words, everything is local!
From that, we made stew and ragu. To accompany the meat dishes, we also made fresh ravioli, ciabatta and biscotti. The professional pasta maker, Maurizio, was there to guide us. He doesn’t speak much English, but he communicated his technique by actions alone quite well and you didn’t need to speak Italian to understand his deep passion for creating magnificent pasta.
We then had a quick lecture of Umbria’s history given by Bonnie who is part of the TVB Foundation, a group that fosters international education in Orvieto. It is always interesting to learn how the history of a country has so much influence on the food and vice versa.
From there, we ate the lunch we had made on the beautiful patio of Ristorante Zeppelin, where there are herbs and flowers abound! Although it was a bit warm and humid outside, there was a lovely breeze and the shade of the table umbrella provided enough relief from the heat to enjoy the wonderful (if I do say so myself) meal we had all created.
Still a bit jet lagged and sleepy from our large afternoon meal, I headed back to our hotel for a quick nap. Quite frankly I could have slept a lot longer, but how could I live with myself sleeping the afternoon away while I was in Italy! Plus, we had to be ready for the barbecue at Chef Polegri’s farm that evening.
I just realized it is 1 am and I have to be up and ready for our next excursion by 7 am tomorrow morning! More soon!