Garnishing the scallop carpaccio and mango

Accento Italian Cooking Master Classes

On Monday night, I attended the media launch for the Accento Italian Cooking Master Classes, organised by the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. From May to September, six local Italian chefs will share their cooking secrets in a series of master classes at the Accento Home showroom in Claremont. The chefs’ restaurants have earned the prestigious Ospitalità Italiana certification awarded by the Italian Government, which means that they comply with specific quality standards including proficiency in Italian cooking, having Italian-speaking staff and a menu that uses traditional and certified Italian ingredients/products, such as extra virgin olive oil. Outside of Italy, there are around 1,000 Ospitalità Italiana restaurants, with 11 here in Western Australia.

The launch event was brilliant fun. We expected chefs Giuseppe Pagliaricci (Perugino Restaurant) and Egidio Squillace (Event Style) to demonstrate three or four dishes, but together with a team of sous chefs they surprised and wowed us with a feast of over 20 dishes that included a tantalising selection of cold and hot finger food items, all beautifully presented and prepared with consummate skill, precision and a healthy dose of that famous Italian passion.

Finger food assembly Finger food assembly – a mesmerising sight.

Scallop carpaccio with mango Scallop carpaccio with mango.

Prawn crudo and pesto sauce Prawn crudo with pesto.

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Waiter The waiters were charming and ever so patient with the crazy food bloggers who had to photograph EVERYTHING!

Finger food service Finger food service

Bacala (cod) and potato fritters Bacala (salted cod) fritters, with and without potato.

Prawns and pancetta with balsamic Prawns and pancetta with balsamic.

Deep fried mozzarella ballsWe could not stop eating the deep-fried mozzarella balls.

Chef Egidio Squillace (Event Style) Chef Egidio Squillace (Event Style) was shy to start with but shared some great cooking tips.

Chef Giuseppe Pagliaricci (Perugino) Chef Giuseppe Pagliaricci (Perugino) looked deadly serious when he grabbed the microphone – he soon had us grinning and salivating.

The finger foods were a meal on their own, but the chefs got cracking to prepare two pasta dishes. A chunk of Gorgonzola cheese was melted in a frying pan. The nostril-flaring aroma got the blue cheese lovers in the room very excited.

Oh, the aroma of Gorgonzola! Oh, the funky whiff of old shoes!

Melting a chunk of Gorgonzola is serious business Chef Giuseppe helps break down the melting Gorgonzola.

Chefs Giuseppe Pagliaricci (Perugino) and Egidio Squillace (Event Style) Chefs Giuseppe Pagliaricci (Perugino) and Egidio Squillace (Event Style) checking on the gnocchi. As they cooked, the chefs were happy to answer any questions we had.

Tossing the gnocchi

Waiter with gnocchiAnother waiter poses good-naturedly for the paparazzi. Once the photographs had been taken, we swooped.

Gnocchi with gorgonzola, apple, parmesan and pine nuts Gnocchi with gorgonzola, apple, parmesan and pine nuts. I’d never had apple in a pasta sauce before this – it added a fresh note that helped cut through the rich creamy sauce.

Dishing up the ravioli We couldn’t wait to taste the ravioli in pumpkin sauce – it didn’t disappoint.

Plating upThe best way to plate up for a crowd like this is to form an assembly line.

Ravioli filled with potato, cheddar, and salty morsels of prosciutto di San Daniele, smothered in pumpkin sauce with a dash of béchamelRavioli filled with potato, cheddar, and salty morsels of prosciutto di San Daniele, smothered in pumpkin sauce and finished with a dash of béchamel and a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts.

Still there was more – a delicious menagerie of chicken, rabbit and lamb.

Serving up chicken and rabbit Serving up chicken with olive oil, mint, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper and rabbit with black olives and white wine.

One of life's magnificent aromas: lamb chops sizzling in a hot pan

Lamb chops cooked with olive oil, lemon juice and oreganoJuicy lamb chops cooked with olive oil, lemon juice and oregano.

And of course there was dessert. Two varieties of panna cotta and three different cakes – fig and amaretti tart; quince and chestnut cake; and a gluten-free rice and apple cake.

Topping pistachio panna cotta with berry sauce Topping pistachio panna cotta with berry sauce – there was a layer of nuts right at the bottom of each glass.

Macadamia panna cotta with white chocolate sauce and pistachio panna cotta with berry sauce

Accento Italian Cooking Master Classes

Master class participants will get to taste the demonstrated dishes and sample matching Italian wines. Every master class menus is different, but give you an idea, here’s what’s in store for the first class on 20 May, led by chef Giuseppe Pagliaricci of Perugino Restaurant:

  • Roast shoulder of pork, thinly sliced and served on a bed of broccoli puree
  • Homemade Italian noodles tossed with fresh local squid, sundried tomatoes and baby spinach
  • Slow-cooked rabbit stew, with Taggiasca olives, served on a bed of soft polenta
  • Accompaniments of roasted tomatoes, mushroom and baby carrots
  • Crepes filled with wild fruit, served with Cointreau zabaglione (each class includes dessert)
  • Matching wines: Rotari Brut, Pighin Sauvignon Blanc and Rosso Montalcino Col D’orcia

Whether you’re more cook or glutton, you’ll definitely need your eating pants. Last year, the classes sold out very quickly and I’ve been told the tickets for this year are already selling fast – so if you’re interested, don’t wait for too long!

  • A class each month, each one led by a different Italian chef
  • The master class series runs from May to September (first class is 20 May)
  • Accento Home showroom, 256 Stirling Highway, Claremont
  • Start time 6.30pm
  • Maximum 30 participants per class
  • AU$90 per class or AU$500 for the whole series of six

For more information including class dates, the chefs, menus and how to book:
Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) or telephone (08) 9217 4200

TFP attended the Accento Italian Cooking Master Classes media launch as an invited guest.

A side note
I studied Italian in high school and enjoyed the lessons very much. We used the “Avanti” series of text books, following the adventures of Angela, Laura, Kevin, Giorgio and Dario. Two sentences are forever burned in my memory: “Dario sempre in ritardo” (Dario is always late) and “Mi dispiace, Dario è in gabinetto” (I’m sorry, Dario is in the toilet). The things that remain with you, eh?

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  • Jon N

    The ravioli and lamb chops look divine!

    • They were very tasty. I was getting quite full by the time the lamb made its appearance, otherwise would’ve eaten several rather than just one.

  • My god I ate so much! It was lovely to finally meet you, seeing your photos has just enhanced my lens-envy though!
    ;)

    • It’s a fantastic lens. If I had to pick just one lens to use all the time, that would be it.