Cinema Italian Style recently took place in venues across the LA area. It was an 11 day Italian marathon of films, food and cultural events. To celebrate this event, they recently held a Gala Dinner at Mr C Beverly Hills Hotel. Leandro Luppi, a Michelin star chef was the guest chef and thanks to an invitation from Gourmet Pigs, I was able to attend.
The Gala Dinner was held in the Penthouse of Mr C Beverly Hills and we benefited from having a panoramic view of the city. The room was enormous and the place was buzzing as people were excited for the experience that was about to unfold.
The room was set up like a banquet room for a wedding reception. Round tables topped with fine white tablecloths filled the entire banquet room of the penthouse. Each table had chairs for 10 people I was assigned table 23 out of 25 and that was definitely far away from the action. Nevertheless, I was still happy to be there.
Attendees received a printed menu of the dishes they were about to experience. The European Union PDO (Protected Destination of Origin) designator was added to many of the ingredients on the menu. Since PDO products must be produced, processed and prepared in a specific region using traditional production methods, I knew this was going to be a special evening.
A tall stack of tuna tartare was beautifully presented on a plate surrounded by a base of creamy smoked mozzarella and topped with passion fruit. The dish had an interesting combination of flavors and was something to slowly savor. The acidity from the passion fruit paired nicely with Mr C’s Prosecco.
I was blown away when Mr C’s guest chef, Leandro Luppi, sat down at our table. Luppi is the owner and executive chef at Vecchia Malcesine in the northern part of Italy midway between Milan and Venice. The restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 2004 and has maintained that status since. This was his first trip to the United States and he was here to help promote the showcase.
Also at our table was a writer from Rolling Stone magazine. He was born in Milan Italy, spoke fluent Italian and conducted a full interview with Chef Luppi entirely in his native language. Fortunately, a representative from the Italian Trade Agency helped translate some of his responses. He collaborated with host chef Giuseppe Manco for the evening’s menu.
Our second dish was a baked tagliolini with porcini mushrooms topped with melted Grana Padano. The combination of porcini mushrooms and Grana Padano made this into a gourmet Mac and Cheese. The bold porcini mushroom flavor held its own against the well balanced Villa Cafaggio Chianti Classico.
I liked the simple preparation of the Chilean sea bass because it allowed the diners to appreciate the freshness and the quality of the fish. The fish was moist and flakey. The judicious use of capers didn’t overpower the mild fish. I loved the fact that the sea bass was moist and extremely flaky.
For dessert, we enjoyed a semifreddo. Luppi took a quick bite of it and added some sea salt to his dessert. He asked everyone around the table if they wanted the same and we quickly agreed. It was a nice sweet and salty improvement to this dish.
Cinema Italian Style was created in 2004 and is co-presented by the American Cinematheque and Luce Cinecittà, under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, in collaboration with the Consulate General of Italy in Los Angeles, the Italian Trade Agency and the Italian Cultural Institute.
Mr C Beverly Hills, 1224 Beverwil Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90035