StarChefs Announces Tony Priolo as winner of Food and Wine Pairing Competition

New York, NY – October 26, 2009 – today announced Tony Priolo, chef at Piccolo Sogno in Chicago, IL, as the winner of their first National Italian Wine and Pasta Pairing Competition, sponsored by renowned Italian wine estates Barone Fini, Poggio Alle Sughere and Villa Pozzi, in conjunction with World Pasta Day.
Barone Fini (Trentino), Poggio Alle Sughere (Tuscany) and Villa Pozzi (Sicily) worked with to create a competition which would result in gourmet pasta recipes from top Chefs that could be easily recreated by home cooks for the coming season. “Lovers of Italian food and wine are spending more time entertaining at home, so we asked top Chefs from around the country to help us bring the fine Italian wining and dining experience into the home,” said Barbara Scalera, spokesperson for the wineries. “Pasta is an inexpensive ingredient, yet one that can be used to create a delicious, upscale appetizer or main course. Similarly, the wines that we used for the competition – Barone Fini Pinot Grigio $11.99, Poggio Alle Sughere Morellino Di Scansano $17.99 and Villa Pozzi Nero D’Avola $9.99 – are all premium quality wines at affordable prices that can be found throughout the U.S. What better way to celebrate World Pasta Day then by offering a luxury dining experience that is accessible to everyone with a nearby kitchen and wine shop!”
Of the hundreds of Chefs throughout the U.S. who entered the competition, 104 finalists were invited to participate by sending in pasta recipes to pair with the three featured wines. The seven finalists, chosen for recipes that were creative, easy to prepare, and had great pairing potential with the wines were Chef Francesco Grosso, Marea Restaurant, New York, NY; Chef Rhys Lewis, Williamsburg Lodge, Williamsburg, VA; Chef Paul Player, Gaylord Palms, Orlando, Florida; Chef Giancarla Bodini, Escopazzo, Miami Beach, FL; Chef Tony Priolo, Picollo Sogno, Chicago, IL; Chef Rino Baglio, Ireland Sandrock, St Paul, MN and Chef Dave Remias, Capital Club, Columbus, OH.
Finalists recipes were prepared by Chef Bradford Thompson (winner of numerous accolades including the James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest in 2006 and Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs of 2004) and taste tested by a jury of independent chefs at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. “Tony Priolo of Piccolo Sogno was chosen as the overall winner of the competition because his dishes were well executed, paired beautifully with the wines, and paid attention to seasonally available ingredients,” said Chef Bradford. “With made-from-scratch pastas, yet easily interchangeable with dried, the judges were impressed with the approachability of the recipes, as well as Tony’s ambition and originality.”
Tony is known for his rustic, clean cooking style at Piccolo Sogno, sourcing artisanal ingredients from throughout Italy in order to provide customers with a true Italian dining experience. The restaurants all-Italian wine list has been the recipient of a 2009 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence and a Santé Wine Hospitality Award.
Francesco Grosso of Marea Restaurant in New York came in second place for his Rigatoni con Ragu di Maiale paired with the Poggio Alle Sughere Morellino di Scansano, and Dave Remias of the Capital Club in Columbus, OH came in third for his Fennel & Sage Gnocchi with the Barone Pinot Grigio.