Andrew Carmellini is the wondrously pedigreed chef-owner of Locanda Verde. Prior to opening Locanda’s humongous space in the Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca, he cheffed A Voce, Lespinasse, and Café Boulud and wielded some of the most respected French technique in the business. Thankfully he got bored of all that, headed downtown, and now makes simple and perfect Italian foodstuffs. Last night he was acknowledged for the move, earning a James Beard Award nomination for best new restaurant, but then was totally screwed out of winning the actual award. Still, we’re obviously very excited about featuring him on our ramshackle little chef show.
Actually, for a ramshackle little chef show, this episode is kind of a big Italian gala, featuring three dons of Italian cooking in America and a few young chefs who will probably one day take their place. After a quick bbq sampling over at Matt Greco’s Char No 4 in Brooklyn, Carmellini and Co. made their way to Torrisi Italian Specialties, where chef Cesare Casella—by rights the preeminent Italian culinary mind this side of the Vatican—made an appearance with a large rosemary sprig in his pocket like a delicious boutonnierre. Everyone wanted to be near him or be looked at by him. Joining Cesare was Mark Ladner, the chef behind the Mario Batali empire, who told Carmellini all about his new 100-layer lasagna recipe and who proved to be way taller than he seems on TV. After a bunch of jokes and food and booze, Carmellini had everyone back to Locanda Verde, where he and protégés-made-good Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone made their way through a drunken late-night serving of Locanda’s tripe and egg dish and everyone took turns burning on France. – CHRIS CECHIN