No mystery here that one of my favourite chefs is Danilo Cortellini, head chef at the Italian Embassy in London, whom I have had the chance to meet on a few occasions and whom I admire not only for his cooking skills (I learned to make arancini from him!) but also for his drive and passion as an ambassador himself of our culinary heritage and ingredients.
An evening with the Ambassador…
The other night we had the pleasure and the honour to be invited to Danilo’s first cookbook launch, held at the Embassy in Grosvenor Square. I was chuffed to be part of such event, not only because to walk through those doors and be greeted by two friendly Carabinieri feels somehow like home, but also because to hear the Ambassador Terracciano talk about Danilo’s work for the embassy was indeed a very special occasion. The Ambassador Terracciano’s speech was hearth felt and funny, praising Danilo’s cooking skills and efforts since becoming his chef in 2013.
The book is dedicated to the Embassy’s entertainment menu, of course devised by Danilo in the last few years spent cooking for the Ambassador not only for this personal meals but also for the official gala dinners and state events. The book is divided in fact by type of occasion, rather than the classic starters, mains, etc. But Danilo’s intention is not to confine these recipes in the cheffy universe, on the contrary, he’s written so that the home cook can easily replicate them, as long as ingredients are of the utmost quality. Obviously many Italian ingredients feature in these recipes and some are provided by Danilo’s supporters too: Imperial d’Abruzzo, Grana Padano to name but a couple.
The launch event was packed with lots of familiar faces (Giorgio Locatelli, Francesco Mazzei, Adam Handling, Antonio Carluccio, Daniel Young) and after the speeches we had a chance to try some of the book’s recipes in the form of mouthwatering canapes, with flowing prosecco.
The book is published in English and Italian on 30 November and will be available on Amazon and all major book retailers (RRP £30)