Thursday, September 16, 2010

Buon Appetito: Vetro Offers Cooking Classes

Executive Chef Michael DeGeorgio
is getting the attention of many
local foodies with his 22-year
expertise and culinary methodology—
not to mention he's feeding them!
By Patricia Adams

These days, men and women have all but stopped wrestling with each other to gain control of the TV remote—that’s because they’re all tuning in to watch whatever’s on the Food Network. As for print media trends, current magazine subscriptions show an incredible boost to publications catering to readers interested in food, wine, menus, recipes, table settings and desserts.

Many of today’s celebrity chefs delight in presenting their creations and showing us just how to mimic their offerings to thrill our own dinner guests. And although Executive Chef Michael DeGeorgio may be a just a few steps away from celebrity status, he is certainly developing a devoted following of food groupies at his newly introduced cooking demonstrations held at Vetro Restaurant and Lounge in Howard Beach.

The first in the series of what has been billed as “intimate cooking classes” debuted at the restaurant back in July, when DeGeorgio prepared a menu of summer appetizers featuring three cold appetizers: homemade mozzarella roulades, filet mignon "carpaccio" and shrimp salad "Murano," followed by a trio of hot appetizers: stuffed chili peppers, chicken meatballs with fresh fava beans and Chilean sea bass skewers.

A second class at the end of August was dedicated to summer entrees: blue claw crab sauce with linguine, pollo alla barese, pistachio crusted Florida grouper and medallions of filet mignon with fresh corn sauce. DeGeorgio really made points with a sold out class of eager students when he wrapped up the presentation with cold zabaglione with fresh fruit.

Fresh Maryland crabs sauteed with garlic, shallots, olive
oil, white wine, parsley and tomatoes were over a bed
of linguine.
One of the unique components of the Vetro Cooking Series is that DeGeorgio tries to pass on to his students a certain confidence in the kitchen—stressing repeatedly that no one should be married to a cookbook. “I want you to understand the methods,” he tells his students. “That is what’s important. A cook should always be able to add themselves to the whole experience. As long as you know the method you are free to create wonderful dishes.”

And those wonderful dishes created by the graduate of the Culinary Institute of America are not only brought to his students with recipes and demonstrations—they are beautifully plated and served during the class. Also included, a wine tasting that offers cooks appropriate pairings for each dish prepared in class. Among the upcoming class schedule will be the classic Italian Sunday table.

Vetro, is a new contemporary Italian restaurant & lounge overlooking Jamaica Bay on Crossbay Boulevard.

To reserve a seat for the cooking class call Vetro Restaurant & Lounge at 718-843-8387.

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