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Interview with Chef Cesare Casella

Cesare Casella Head Shot

This week we would like to introduce to our fans Chef Cesare Casella. Chef Casella is visiting us from NYC via Italy where he grew up and developed his passion for cooking.

Chef Casella is a featured chef during the festival and will be preparing a solo dinner at Scrub Island Resort on Sunday, November 3, titled “Chef Casella Brings Tuscany to the Islands”, as well as the collaborative dinner the previous night.

We are also looking forward to attending Chef Casella’s cooking demo at the festival village at Nanny Cay Resort where you can learn how to cook Italian from one of the most respected chefs in the culinary world. His most recent book, “The Fundamental Techniques of Classic Italian Cuisine” was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award, congrats Chef!

We are honored and excited to have Chef Casella in the BVI this year. We recently asked him some questions about his life, cooking, and our festival in the BVI.

1. Where are you from and what got you started in the culinary world?
I grew up in Lucca, a small town in the Tuscan region of Italy. When I was three years old my family moved into a house that had a restaurant called Vipore on the first floor. We lived upstairs, my parents ran the restaurant, and I spent ALL of my time in the kitchen watching my mamma cook. I loved to help her in the kitchen and eventually, after I went to culinary school, I had the chance to come back and run the kitchen at Vipore myself.

2. Have you been to the British Virgin Islands before? If yes, can you share your favorite memory from your trip. If no, tell us what you would like to do here besides cooking.
I always love food festivals, but I am extra excited for this one because I have never been to the Caribbean before. In New York I’m not very good at relaxing. If I’m not at Salumeria Rosi or Il Ristorante Rosi, I’m downtown at ICC or upstate at The Center for Discovery. Usually I try to relax by walking through the park to get from one restaurant to the other. But knowing that I’m going to the islands…I’m already thinking about laying on the beach with my Rosetta Stone English lessons on my iPhone and a glass of champagne on the rocks in my hand. And I love to eat local food. I can’t wait to see what the chefs from BVI are cooking up for the festival.

3. If you had to choose a song to describe your cooking style which would it be?
Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”

4. What is your comfort food?
My comfort food is pasta.

5. Favorite drink, cocktail, wine, or beer is?
Good champagne.

6. Is there any food you haven’t tried but want to?
I can’t think of something I haven’t tried. Everywhere I travel I try to be adventurous and taste everything. Even things I don’t like. Especially when I spent time in China… I tasted EVERYTHING!

7. What advice would you give to someone interested in making culinary a career?
To be very focused and work hard. Be curious, ask questions, take it all in, but don’t be judgmental. Everything that you do should be for yourself.

8. What is your secret to success?
Respect for traditions and simplicity.

9. If you could stay in the BVI for a week longer what would you do?
Rent a boat, experience even more local culture/food and continue to drink champagne!

To read more about Chef Casella or purchase one of his books or cooking products visit his website.
http://www.cesarecasella.com/
Chef Casella on Facebook
Chef Casella on Twitter

Credit Daniel Krieger

Credit Daniel Krieger

Credit Daniel Krieger

Credit Daniel Krieger

Credit Daniel Krieger

Credit Daniel Krieger

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