Well, it’s that time of year again: Time for me to get back to the old country—Italy! But don’t be jealous—I’m going to take all of you with me. Ready? Let’s go!
Here’s the plan: Vegas—Rome—Gabrieli—Florence—San Margherita—Portici—Toran—Vegas!
My (our) trip begins in Rome, were I’ll meet up with my good friends, Michael and Lisa Kornick. (Michael is my mentor and chef owner of the 9 Group, and owns MK restaurant and DMK Burger in Chicago.)
We will dine in some of the restaurants that inspired the owners of 9 Group when they were designing my restaurant at the Palms, Nove Italiano. I can’t wait to taste those inspiring and rich flavors again; it has been more than two years since I last ate at these amazing restaurants.
After a few days in Rome, it will be off to Florence for the best tripe sandwich in the world. My mouth is watering as I am writing this, just thinking about it. I will also make sure to have dinner at Cibroes—as a chef, trust me, it is off the charts. Beyond that, I will visit with some friends and drink vino while I’m there, too.
The trip only gets better from there, as I head off to the Italian Rivera, Portfolio, to relax on the beach. I am going to pair my beach days with grilled octopus and a few bottles of wine. After Portofino, I am off to Torino to see U2 open their World Tour with my best friends, Jay Beckman and John Saccenti (or, as I prefer to call him, Johnny Drama). Should be amazing.
This trip is about embracing Italian food and the culture and remembering why I became a chef in the first place; what inspired me. As some of you may already know, my love for Italian cooking started when I was a kid and would cook with my nana. She would tell me stories about the food and the people and how they live.
I will be back in Las Vegas on Aug. 8, but until I return, I’ll be updating all of you with first-hand photos and a daily (or almost daily!) dairy of my travels.