Chef Marcellino Verzino of Marcellino Ristorante has been selected to cook at the James Beard House on October 14. This honor comes as a result of a competitive selection process.
This will be Verzino’s second time cooking at the Beard House. He previously participated on May 28, 2008, when he was the Executive Chef/Co-Owner at Amarone Ristorante in New York City.
The mission of the James Beard Foundation is to celebrate, nurture and preserve America’s culinary heritage and future. In order to be invited to cook at the Beard House, chefs must be recommended. Next, they are chosen by the Chef Selection Committee through a competitive selection process. Some of the criteria include national or regional reputation, excellence in a particular discipline and known use of high quality ingredients.
Verzino was born on his family’s farm in the Campania region of Italy and was raised in the small town of Reino, Benevento; where lush rolling hills are still filled with olive groves and vineyards and everyone knows each other’s families for generations.
After his beloved mother passed away, Verzino began cooking for his family at the young age of twelve. His roots are steeped in all facets of Italian food and wine with a profound understanding of their origins. His family had been farmers for generations and both he and his older brother Angelo worked as young boys helping their father tend the fields, animals, vineyard, olive groves and harvested from trees laden with fruits all grown without pesticides. Livestock roamed fields, always pastured and raised on “organic” foods and butchered humanly with every imaginable part of each and every animal used for the needs of the family. This is Verzino’s truth and his family heritage. Verzino practiced the “farm to table” life before it had a name.
The menu that Verzino has chosen for his proposed James Beard House “Heritage Dinner” are his personal recipes, some from his childhood, that come from his soul. He is proud to present the richness and diversity of regional Italian food and wine.
This exceptional multi-course dinner is paired with regional wines from his long time friend Libero Rillo, third generation owner of the family’s vineyard, Fontanavecchia, with the exception of the dessert wine, Spumante Moscato, from the Vintner, Massaria Parisi Basilice. All wines are from the Campania region.
Insalata di Gamberetti e Ceci con Salvia
Baby shrimp and Garbanzo salad perfumed with fresh sage
Capesante con prosciutto
Deep sea scallop wrapped with San Daniele Prosciutto sautéed in white wine, fresh sage
and touch of tomato
Sfere di Polenta e funghi misti
Polenta spheres mantled with mixed mushrooms
Crosinti di Breseola e formaggio di capra
Crostini blanketed with Breseola and soft goat cheese
Paired with Falanghina Eroica, sparkling wine
Insalata Reinese (named after his hometown of Reino)
A hearty medley of winter vegetables and fruit that was kept fresh in the family’s
“cantina,” (underground: cool storage). Potatoes, celery, parsley, vinegared peppers,
cured black olives, orange bits with their rind all tossed with extra virgin olive oil and
Paired with Taburno falanghina del sannio DOP, 2016
Cavatelli con Piccione
Chef’s handcrafted, toothsome pasta sautéed with humanely raised pigeon in a red
Paired with Aglianico del taburno Doc, 2012
Polenta con Salsiccia e funghi
Creamy polenta served with his homemade sausage and mixed mushrooms in a white sauce of extra virgin olive oil, white wine and a touch of sweet butter.
Paired with Aglianico vigne Cataratte (reserva), 2009
Angello in Umido
Baby lamb chops sautéed in its own juices, potatoes, fresh garden herbs from Chef’s
home garden, red wine and cherry tomato.
Paired with Orazio Benevento (reserve), 2011
Pastiera di Riso
A “torta” of Arborio rice gently blended with fresh ricotta, hand harvested vanilla,
aroma zest of orange and lemon, sugar and a kiss of cinnamon.
Paired with Spumante Moscato
“It is an honor and privilege to cook at the most important food venue in the United States. I look forward to making this particular menu, as it is full of recipes inspired from my hometown,” Verzino said.
Dinner at the Beard House will begin with a reception at 7:00 p.m. in the greenhouse or the garden. Aperitifs and hors d’oeuvre are served during this time. Guests are seated for dinner at 7:45 p.m. and service begins at 8:00 p.m.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://www.jamesbeard.org/events/italian-heritage-2?category=Dinner
For more information about Marcellino Ristorante, visit www.Marcellinoristorante.com.