By: Kimberly White, CIV Honors Graduate, June 2011
On a rainy, unseasonably cool Sunday in September, two Italian reality television personalities brought a little sunshine to Virginia Beach. Top Chef fan favorite, Fabio Viviani and Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Teresa Giudice along with Culinary Institute of Virginia Chef Instructor, Dedra Blount headlined as the finale attraction during the Mediterranean Festival at the Virginia Beach oceanfront. The three day event began on Friday, September 16, was a celebration of Greek and Italian cuisine, music and culture.
The show began with a flawless cooking demo by Chef Dedra Blount, who effortlessly produced a beautiful dish of Quinoa Risotto and Veal Chops over a beautiful Pear Sauce with the assistance of CIV student Jeanine McDougald. CIV Academic Director, Chef Steve Sadowski was also on hand to demonstrate the proper technique for fabricating veal chops.
Teresa Giudice, known for her somewhat explosive temper, eclectic style, feuding family, legal woes, four rambunctious daughters, and New York Times bestselling cookbooks, Skinny Italian and Fabulicious, was next to take the stage. Teresa demonstrated how to make Devil Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta which is one of the recipes featured in her most recent cookbook. As she cooked, she fielded questions from the audience. Although Teresa seemed a little uncomfortable with the actual cooking portion of the demo, she wooed the audience with her candor, vivaciousness and down-to-earth quality that seems to be sincerely who she is.
The icing on the proverbial cake in the event was Fabio Viviani, who came to the stage amid cheers and cat calls from screaming fans. Completely comfortable and commanding on stage, Fabio had the cameraman come right up to the demo table so that every step of his presentation could be seen clearly and up close by the audience. Fabio was assisted by CIV student, Jackie Beau. As Fabio began to make his famous Potato Gnocchi dish, he regaled the audience with funny antidotes and his philosophy about cooking and how Italians use very simple, fresh ingredients. He kept the audience completely entertained and engaged while giving cooking instructions. After producing a pillowy light Gnocchi that he then finished in vibrant roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce, he had every person in the audience come up to the stage to try one. Fabio’s hilarious stories about growing up in an Italian family were endearing and you totally felt how sincere and passionate he is about cooking and sharing his love of food with his family, friends and fans.