University Club hosts world-renowned chefs for Italy event

The theme of the night is 'Flavors of Florence: A Unique Culinary Experience.'

The University Club and the American Culinary Federation will be introducing a little slice of Italy to Columbia in November with “Flavors of Florence: A Unique Culinary Experience.”

The University Club is located in the Reynolds Alumni Center. It is open to everyone including MU students and faculty members. The club hosts an apprenticeship program with Johnson County Community College.

“There is really good food and it’s about $50 a year,” said Emmi Weiner, culinary administrative assistant at the University Club. “There are membership applications available at the University Club. Where else can you find fine dining for about $11?”

University Club executive chef Daniel Pliska also serves as the American Culinary Federation President. He is hosting Andrea Trapani and Camilla Carrege Bertolini at the event to ensure the highest caliber of Tuscan style cooking. Trapani is the executive chef and head of the Culinary and Banking Department at Apicius International School of Hospitality in Italy and specializes in molecular cuisine and gastronomy. Bartolini is the Wine Department Chairwoman for Apicius.

“They are handpicked wines, literally from Camilla Carrega Bertolini’s family winery,” Weiner said. “(Her family’s involvement in the winemaking process is) how she got into being a sommelier. She sat down with the menu and handpicked the wines that would go best with the different meals. During the event she will be walking around, table to table, talking about the wines and how it goes with the food.”

Trapani and Bertolini are stopping in New York at the James Beard Foundation prior to their trip to Columbia. The James Beard Foundation Awards are often referred to as the Oscars of Food.

This will be the fifth food festival at the University Club, Pliska said. He said he chose Italian food for the upcoming festival not only because of his want to cook Italian food, but because he has an apprentice in his kitchen that studied during the summer in Italy.

Rich sauces and spices will be on everyone’s minds well after this event in November, Weiner said.

“We are targeting the ‘foodies,’” she said. “The people who nerd-out when they get a really good meal. There are people who like to eat but then there’s people who like to try new things and experience things and understand how it connects to the culture and that is what we want to instill in people, the intimate relationship between food and wine culture, and Italy has a rich food and wine culture.”

Four Seasons St. Louis chef Fabrizio Schenardi, enology research assistant professor Marco LiCalzi and Apicius senior apprentice Casey Rotert will join Pliska in preparing the meal.

The event is on Nov. 2 at the University Club. Tickets are being sold for $75 per person. A portion of the funds will go toward ACF’s scholarship fund.

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