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In This Edition:
Sirio Maccioni Great Culinary Entrepreneur
o ick Stellin
Lyric Opera Review Lucia Di Lammermoor
s 2” w Series r of Ne th Friend TV Sta oking Wi o Co Stellin
Tony ony Danza Danza
2 / Fall 2010
By John Rizzo
LEAD ROLE IN THE MEL BROOKS MUSICAL “THE PRODUCERS”
“I’m not going to tell that story again,” said Tony Danza, the irritation in his tone unmistakable. “I was working out in a gym, an agent saw me and got me on TV. Everybody asks me about that. It’s not about my soul.” When politely requested to expound on his “soul,” he responded, “I leave that up to the writers!” Danza was of course referring to how he segued into show business from boxing. We can assume that every single interviewer has asked him about that and we can understand that it must be indeed tiresome to rehearse this issue ad nauseum. But it is also understandable why people keep inquiring about his professional metamorphosis.
tion: This Edi
NEWS CHEF VIEW WITH INTERAEL GALATA A SESON MICH LYRIC OPER 2011-2012 WITH JR. INTERRVIEW MARTINI ACTO LOU
As a youngster, Antonio Ladanza never dreamed of an acting career. The New Yorker from Brooklyn instead envisioned himself the next Rocky Graziano. Changing his name to “Dangerous” Tony Danza, he entered the New York Golden Gloves in 1975. Shortly afterwards, on Aug. 13, 1976, he started his professional boxing career. Fighting as a middleweight, Danza became a crowd favorite for his walk-in slugging style. He compiled a record of 9-3 with nine knockout victories, seven in the first round. It was during a gym workout that he was discovered for the part of “Tony Banta” on the TV show, “Taxi” (1978). Danza still had hopes of being a world champion and scored knockouts in 1978 and 1979 but unable to secure a title shot, retired from boxing to dedicate himself totally to his acting career. Where he quite obviously has made a success in this which is now his passion.
If before he became a famous TV star Danza had been anything but a boxer – a doctor, lawyer, garbage man, interior decorator or any other kind of an athlete – it is likely that there would be little interest in his preshowbiz activities. Boxing, however, has a certain mystique that evokes a universal fascination with the sport itself and those who participate in it. Virtually the object of boxing intrigues everyone, which is to inflict as much physical pain as possible on your opponent until he can take no more and either quits or is rendered unconscious. And it takes a singular kind of fearless, intensely disciplined, athletically gifted and super-aggressive person who deeply desires to prevail, and one who also willingly accepts the possibility of being publicly humiliated and having his own brains beat out. Naturally, the entire experience is magnified on the professional level. Boxing as a spectator sport goes back to the Pythian and Olympic games of ancient Greece, as does wrestling, a related form of hand-tohand combat, in which Tony Danza also excelled as a young man. There were fewer rules in the Classical era and it was very common for the loser of a match to also lose his life, but to the winner went untold glory and the highest esteem of his countrymen. The sport and the unique kind of personality it takes to compete in this way has routinely stirred the imagination of prominent artists, most recently in celebrated films like Champion (1949) with Kirk Douglas, Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) with Paul Newman and Raging Bull (1980) with Robert De Niro. Another fine movie, Golden Boy (1939) with William Holden, explored the internal conflict at work in a man who was not only a tough boxer, but a talented violinist as well. At the same time the drama contrasted the types of emotional impact on the audience derived from a violent and gory boxing exhibition and a brilliantly performed concert.
Clearly, although exciting to watch, a brutal display of fisticuffs does not usually appeal to the better angels of our nature, whereas many kinds of musical and dramatic performances can be spiritually uplifting. But the main theme of writer Clifford Odets was that there was not room enough in one personality for both boxer and artist and ultimately one or the other would have to go. This is what happened with Tony Danza. When Tony Danza quit the ring for good, he was on the way to becoming another luminary in a legendary line of Italian-America pugilists including Jake La Motta, Rocky Graziano, Carmen Basilio and Rocky Marciano. Even after he had fulfilled a one-in-a-million show business dream by landing a regular role on the hit TV sitcom Taxi, he was still boxing professionally and toying with the idea of going after the World Middleweight title. Before things got too serious, however, Tony decided to retire from boxing because, as he put it, “I was worried about my nose.” One can only wonder what would have happened to Danza’s acting career if his handsome and photogenic facial features had become grotesquely rearranged. This would be of no concern to a one-dimensional person, focused single-mindedly on boxing, but for the multifaceted Tony Danza, it was at this point that the artist in him had won out over the prizefighter. Yet it is tempting to conclude that the entire boxing-wrestling experience was a kind of proving ground for the stormy world of show business. “I always liked competition,” says Tony, and can you think of any more competitive spheres of activity than boxing or show business? The combatant and the artist coexisted in the soul of Tony Danza from early on. While he participated in varsity wrestling at his Long Island high school, he also performed in the student production of South Pacific. “I was always musical,” he claims, as if it’s the most natural thing in the world to be both wrestler and singing actor. It was the same phenomenon
at the University of Dubuque, from which he received a wrestling scholarship. As Tony modestly explains, however, this award was of the “if-may” variety, “If you made the team, they may give you some money.” It was while he attended the University as a history major and “sung in the chorus” that he began competing in amateur boxing. After graduation, at the age of 23, Danza continued his amateur boxing, slugging it out for two years in the Golden Gloves, before becoming a professional middleweight. It was about two years into his prizefighting career when the incident happened that Tony doesn’t want to talk about. Apparently, while working out at a New York gym, an agent spotted Danza and convinced him to seek a career in TV. Tony’s initial foray into television was not successful, starring in an ill-fated pilot for a series that never was called Fast Lane Blues. A year later, however, Danza hit pay dirt, cast as the affable Tony Banta in the unforgettable Taxi series, which had an enviable 5-year run. Hardly missing a beat, in 1984 Tony scored a starring role in Who’s the Boss?, an extremely popular sitcom that ran until 1992! After thirteen years of sitcoms, Danza’s acting ability and versatility began bearing fruit in other ways. He appeared in the film remake of Angels in the Outfield in 1994 and starred in the one-season TV series Hudson Street in 1995. His most substantial dramatic role was as “Juror Number 7” in the widely acclaimed made-for-TV movie, 12 Angry Men. George C. Scott and Jack Lemmon, who starred as the major antagonists, led the cast. Besides Danza, the superb supporting cast included Hume Cronyn and James Gandolfini. This was possibly the most personally satisfying experience in Tony’s show business career. As he recalls, “The director, Bill Friedkin, who directed The French Connection, called and asked me if I wanted to be in the movie. I told him yes, and I wanted to be Juror Number 7, the guy with the baseball tickets.” That’s exactly the role he got and his work in this film made a good and lasting impression on his fellow cast members. “I was really thrilled when I was watching Jack Lemmon doing a Larry King interview on TV and he mentioned me by name.” Perhaps the most legitimate test of acting ability is stage acting, in front of a live audience, and Tony Danza also excels in this form of entertainment. In the late ’90s he starred on Broadway in two of the greatest plays of the century, Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh and Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge. Tony has no preference between acting in movies, TV or on the live stage. “Each one has its own unique [perk],” he claims. Right now Danza is appearing live at the Paris, Las Vegas as Max Bialystock in a production of The Producers, which is booked until Christmas, 2007. If you’re looking for a Zero Mostel copycat interpretation, forget about it. Tony will tell you, “I play him like an Italian!” Tony Danza is an Italian-American with a capital “I”. Born in Brooklyn, with a second-generation Napoletan’ father, Tony’s mother is actually from Sicily. “I get over to Sicily every now and then,” he says. “I’ve got a lot of family there, at least 60 cousins. It’s incredible, but there’s one first cousin that looks exactly like my mother!” Producers and directors have exploited Danza’s obvious Italian idiosyncrasies, especially his looks and his accent, with great results for all concerned. Who better could have played a Tony Banta (Taxi) or a Tony Micelli (Who’s the Boss?)? Interestingly, Danza has never been called on to play notable mafia or gangster-type characters like so many of his Italian-American colleagues. Although Tony would “have some compunction” about taking such roles, he is not over-critical of Italian-American actors that do. “You got to cut them some slack.” After all, “That’s what’s out there,” he points out, referring to the high demand for such portrayals. Just like a pug picking himself off the mat, Tony Danza has shown that he can take a punch in life as well as in the ring. While skiing in Utah in 1993, he broke his back, and had to have his spine reinforced with pins and screws. A couple of months later his California house was totally destroyed by an earthquake. “I had a run of bad luck there for a while,” Tony muses. Neither disaster, however, had him down for the count. In less than a year he was back to work.
Not an overly political individual, nor a real supporter of any candidate in the next presidential election, Tony does find Rudy Giuliani’s straightforwardness refreshing. “On TV the other day, there was this woman with a baby in her arms, and she asked Giuliani what he would do to make sure that she and her baby would have health care if he were elected President. He told her, ‘I don’t know what I’d do to make sure that you and your child have health care.’ Now that was honest. I think we need to have more truth tellers like that.” Tony Danza has a direct connection with Chicago. “The second season of my talk show (The Tony Danza Show, 2004-2006) was produced in Chicago. This was really the most important time of the show. The people of Chicago were real strong for me,” he remembers. It was at this time that he got thoroughly acquainted with his favorite restaurant, the Rosebud on Taylor Street. “I did everything there – I cooked, I waited tables and washed the dishes.” Wouldn’t it have been a neat surprise to go out for dinner and be served by Tony Danza?” Today, most folks, especially the kids, only know Tony Danza from his sitcom reruns or show business appearances. It might, however, be a very cool thing to take the family down to the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame. Here, among all the many inspirational exhibits, you can find Tony’s boxing gloves and robe from his prizefighting days on display. It’s also worth mentioning that this shrine of celebrated Italian-Americans, as a tribute to Tony Danza’s conspicuous contributions to society, established a scholarship in his name.
iss. VII Vol XXVI Fall 2010
Il Tenore Italiano Veste I Panni Di Roméo Alla Scala Di Milano
Exclusive Interview With World Famous Singer BUANNE D. Rispetto al dramma di Shakespeare uno dei cambiamenti più forti è alla fine dell’opera: Gounod preferisce tagliare la scena di riconciliazione tra i Capuleti e i Montecchi, lasciando da soli i protagonisti, quasi già proiettati in un mondo dell’aldilà dove si ritroveranno. Secondo te è possibile una vita ultraterrena? R. Certo...la fede è un mistero. Si dice che si possiede dalla nascita. Io credo nell’aldilà perché penso che sia troppo effimero sapere che tutto intorno è già finito. Viviamo circondati d’infinito, essendo pur finiti… che depressione se fosse davvero così. Il fatto di lasciare Romeo e Juliette da soli rafforza il dramma e la tragedia, in questo caso melodrammatica. Shakespeare al contrario include il dramma familiare più sulla società, pur sempre incantevole, che sull’individuo.
Di Luisa DeSalvo
Sono trascorsi alcuni anni dal suo primo debutto alla Scala nel 2000 per il concerto inaugurale verdiano, per quello di Riccardo Muti e dal suo ritorno ancora nel 2008 per Gianni Schicchi. Anni che hanno dato il tempo all’Italia di cambiare e, purtroppo, non sempre in meglio. Soprattutto la cultura e ancor di più la lirica hanno risentito di un voluto e veloce andamento verso il basso non solo del senso morale, ma anche civico del nostro vivere e delle nostre vite. A giugno Vittorio Grigolo canterà nel Roméo et Juliette di Gounod, diretto da Yannick Nezet-Seguin alla Scala di Milano, in quel tempio dell’Opera che ha visto per tre secoli scrosci di applausi del pubblico mischiarsi agli scrosci di lacrime dei cantanti: stesse ragioni, stesse emozioni. Per riuscire ad immaginare il risultato di questo nuovo allestimento di Bartlett Sher, la cui prima è prevista per il 6 giugno, proviamo a mettere insieme alcuni elementi caratterizzati dall’attitudine alla perfezione: una delle opere simbolo del drame-lyrique, uno dei teatri più famosi, uno dei registi più premiati, uno dei direttori più internazionali, una delle orchestre più impeccabili, uno dei tenori più amati e uno dei soprani più ammirati. Abbiamo chiesto a Vittorio cosa succede tra il prima e il dopo…
•A Broadway’s Look at Vince Lombardi • Interview with Honorable Justice Dominic R. Massaro
Photographs from The Producers
D. Come ti stai preparando al ruolo? C’è qualcosa che stai facendo o non facendo rispetto agli altri debutti? R. Ci metto tutto me stesso corpo ed anima, come al solito. Le difficoltà tecniche non sono poche ma quando queste vengono superate attraverso la maturazione dell’intero ruolo, ci si libera nel corpo e si da spazio alla vera arte, alla trasmigrazione dell’anima musicale, al passaggio tra reale e soprannaturale...quello che trasforma lo studio in arte. Di solito preparo tutti i miei ruoli allo stesso modo. Se posso cerco di studiarli per circa un mese 3-4 mesi prima del debutto. Poi li lascio andare…per riprenderli nuovamente il mese precedente le prove. Questo modo di procedere mi da il tempo di far maturare l’opera da sola. Perfino quando non si canta essa continua a progredire, nel sonno, durante il giorno...anche se non me ne accorgo. Così funziona per me. E’ incredibile: quando la riprendo dopo due mesi, invece di averla dimenticata sembra essere contrariamente maturata! Guardo anche film, ovviamente mi documento sui personaggi e su ciò che caratterizza un ruolo, la provenienza, la famiglia...tutti colori e sfumature di esperienze di vita che andranno ad arricchire la voce in primis e l’esecuzione finale dopo.
Exclusive Interview with
playing at Paris Hotel USA $3.50
R. Dalla mia partner mi aspetto tutto...voglio tutto...mi piace scambiare le energie totalmente e sentire che queste fluiscono da corpo a corpo tornando indietro come un’onda. Abbiamo avuto già un passato lavorativo insieme, ma mai così coinvolgente come nell’interpretazione di questi due ruoli. Ci sarà molta carne al fuoco e diversi stati d’animo da sviluppare insieme. Speriamo maturino e si cucinino al punto giusto. Essere ed avere le physique du role aiuta non solo noi stessi in termini di credibilità, ma anche coloro che avranno il piacere di vivere questa meravigliosa favola d’amore mai tramontata e sempre attualissima. Poi ovviamente quando si debutta un ruolo è inevitabile cercare il supporto energetico in palcoscenico... bisogna aiutarsi...sempre, affinché tutto sia vero, reale, anche se nella finzione scenica.
essuno potrebbe mai riuscire a disegnarlo. Il volto di Romeo, ovviamente. Sta nella fantasia di chiunque.
Noi lo abbiamo incontrato in occasione del Rigoletto diretto da Nello Santi a Zurigo: una città che nella sua vita è anche una tappa fatta di tanti amici e importanti successi. Procede così la maratona di Vittorio Grigolo verso il podio, dove siedono con irrequietezza i più grandi cantanti del momento. Fortunatamente non si tratta di una corsa perchè il giovane tenore, non avendo fretta di raggiungere qualcosa o di arrivare in qualche luogo, possiede l’acume e il talento per poter scegliere il “suo” repertorio, per-seguirlo, perfezionarlo fino a dominarlo con il vigore sensuale dell’interpretazione scenica e l’immacolato controllo della voce. E’ più facile rimanere sul podio se si arriva senza spaccarsi la voce, la testa e il cuore. Beni preziosi per Vittorio, dei quali sa prendersi cura con costanza e tenacia.
D. Tra i mostri sacri che hanno meglio interpretato Romeo chi prediligi o a chi ti ispiri? Patti, Melba, Thill, Gigli, Corelli o Alfredo Kraus che grazie ai suoi successi memorabili ha reso possibile la ripresa dell’opera dopo un periodo di appannamento? R. Tutti grandi nomi di una storia senza pari. Spero di poter scrivere almeno un pezzetto della mia, che di sicuro già sto scrivendo perchè il ruolo mi piace moltissimo e mi regala emozioni meravigliose. Non saprei chi scegliere, sono tutti interpreti grandiosi. D. Gounod compose il suo Roméo et Juliette sotto l’effetto di un furore creativo che spesso lo divorava. Si dice fosse schizofrenico. Senza arrivare alla schizofrenia, anche tu canti meglio sotto l’effetto di certo furore creativo?
R. L’estremo, tutto ciò che va oltre, ci può portare a gesti dai quali non si può tornare indietro. In questo caso si tratta di estremo amore, estrema amicizia, estrema sensibilità, che in un mondo dove non sono riconosciuti vuol dire Morte.
D. Roméo si innamora di Juliette con un coup de fou? Quanto conta il colpo di fulmine nella tua vita? In amore, nel lavoro, negli acquisti, ecc… R. Devo ammettere che vivo tutto di getto...qualunque cosa per me è un coup de fou. Non ragiono mai più di tanto su acquisti, su decisioni. Solo sulla musica mi soffermo…strano no?
D. Quale parte vocale e scenica di Romeo ritieni irrinunciabile per la riuscita dell’Opera?
D. Considerato il tema della fugacità proposta nell’Opera, secondo te la gioia ha il tempo contato? R. Tempus fugit! Non solo la felicità corre via, ma va rincorsa sempre. E quando si raggiunge, la si deve lasciare andare per poi essere di nuovo felici quando la si riafferra. Mai dare tutto per scontato e quanto è bello essere sempre in gioco... D. Con quale vestito ti trovi più a tuo agio: in quello della drammaturgia pura di Verdi o in quello più lirico di Gounod?
D. La tua Juliette sarà Nino Machaidze, con la quale hai già cantato proprio alla Scala in occasione di un Gianni Schicchi diretto da Riccardo Chailly. Due belli, fortunatamente anche bravi. Cosa ti aspetti dalla tua partner?
Recipient of the Italian Trade Commission 2010 Distinguished Service Award
D. Come si sarebbe potuto salvare Romeo? Rischiando meno nel suo amore per Giulietta o nella sua amicizia per Mercuzio? Cosa lo ha portato alla morte?
R. Credo proprio che ora non divori solo lui ma anche noi nell’eseguire un tale capolavoro. Magari tutti gli schizofrenici potessero fraseggiare con tanta semplicità! Ovviamente Il furore creativo è utile, l’ispirazione deve arrivare da ogni cosa che serve per poterci esaltare e spingerci a fare cose mai fatte prima, a rischiare e a metterci in gioco con tutto: furore, passione…ebbrezza!
R. Non taglierei nulla. Tutte le parti, ogni nota è al suo posto...al posto giusto! forse alcune ripetizioni con il coro, ma nessuna parte solistica scoperta. D. Quale messaggio al nuovo Ministro della Cultura della nostra Italia da un tenore che della musica ne ha fatta passione e ragione di vita? R. Chiederei di sostenere di più questa cultura tutta Italiana, ma anche ogni arte correlata all’Opera: la musica in generale, i corpi di ballo e tutti gli artisti e musicisti che con gioia si dedicano anima e corpo all’arte, che difficilmente paga. Basta con la fuga dei talenti.
R. Entrambi mi danno il pane quotidiano e ad entrambi dovrei fare un monumento o accendere un cero ogni giorno della mia vita. Mi sento a mio agio con tutti e due anche se la facilità che trovo nel repertorio francese, e specialmente in questa opera, mi rende ancor più fan di Gounod di quanto non lo fossi stato prima con Faust, altro grande ruolo che amo.
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42 / Summer 2011
Winter 2007/2008 /AMICI 3
2 AMICI / Winter 2007/2008
Interview With Chef Michael Galata The Renaissance Man
Lt. Dan Band entertains troops on USO tours NIAF News Giorgia Fumanti: FROM MY HEART Larry Manetti From Chicago to Hollywood To Autism With Love Dinner Dance Visit Campania with Amici Journal National Italian Restaurant Guide $2.50 US Fall 2007
ichael Galata was born in 1980 in New Jersey where he grew up in his family’s restaurant. This is where he was initially exposed to the business as a whole and where he discovered his love for food and his talent in cooking. He worked since the young age from the ground up. After graduating from high school, Michael took over kitchen and helped to manage the business. At the same time he attended Hudson County Community College culinary arts program and in 1999 earned Associate Degree. Michael went on to work at the Stage House Inn ( 3 star New York Times ) under Chef/owner David Drake. That’s where he was exposed to and learned all the practical foundations of fine dining as well as the determination and dedication that are involved in the process. After two years, Michael, 21 years old, inspired, was ready to move on. That’s when his journey with the Maccioni family and Le Cirque began and continues to this day. At Le Cirque 2000 Michael was working under chef Pierre Schaedelin. He worked his way from the bottom to the position of Sous Chef when he was 22. He was valued and appreciated by the Maccionis and was asked to join the new Le Cirque crew when it reopened in May 2006. During the time of constructing the new Le Cirque, Michael did kitchen consulting and worked as a personal chef for different clients including Martha Stewart and the Gold family of Gold Foods International. Upon the opening of the new Le Cirque, Michael worked with chef Pierre Schendlin and later during the chef changes, he worked one year for chef Christophe Bellanca and eventually one year for chef Craig Hopson when he exited as executive Sous Chef in January 2010. The Maccioni family asked him to take over the Executive Chef position in their other restaurant in NYC, Osteria Del Circo where he is blossoming and creating fabulous Italian dishes. Besides his love for cooking and the restaurant business, Michael lives in Brooklyn with his beautiful girlfriend. He has a passion and loves to travel and learn about the world, people, cultures, and incorporates that knowledge into his life. He is a student of the world. His expression of art – cooking. Michael as a chef has passion for learning and is always trying to improve his food and technique. He knows that being a chef also means to be a leader and part of a team; that skill he learned from his father years ago … “we can always grow and improve no matter how satisfied we are with the current result.”
Emmy and Golden Globe Winning Actor, Director, Musician and co-founder of Steppenwolf Theatre and Operation Iraqi Children
CHICAGOLAND’S ITALIAN-AMERICAN LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE
Photography is the Chefs Hobby More at www.mikegalataphotography.com.
By: John Rizzo
hat is a “Renaissance Man?” We hear, all too often I think, that so-andso is a Renaissance Man. It is usually understood that such a person is multifaceted, in that he is a master of two or more decidedly different skills. If this is an acceptable definition of the term, then Michael Galata is for sure a Renaissance Man! Galata was referred to me because of his position as chief chef at Osteria del Circo, at 120 W. 55th St. in Manhattan. This restaurant is the Italian spinoff of the world-famous Le Cirque, the brainchild of yet another Italian immigrant who became fabulously wealthy realizing the American Dream, Sirio Maccioni. When I, who will probably never dine at Le Cirque, innocently asked Michael who Sirio Maccioni is, he answered “He is the god of fine dining.” After doing some research on the Internet, I understand what he means. Le Cirque is more than a French restaurant, where you might start off your meal with scrambled eggs and caviar, it is a New York institution, the capital of a dining empire that now extends to several continents. It is a tribute to Michael Galata’s culinary skills that he became the sous chef of Le Cirque in his early twenties. It is fitting that Galata, whose people come from Calabria, was tapped to be the head man in the kitchen of the Osteria when Sirio Maccioni decided to open an Italian version of his established palace of the pampered palate. “I was raised in my family’s Italian restaurant in Westfield, New Jersey,” says Michael. “After culinary school I honed my skill at French cuisine as a cook at Le Cirque.” The Osteria del Circo offers fare that one might not find at a typical Italian restaurant. For dinner you can order dishes like Hawaiian Sushi Tuna, Brandy Flambéed Shrimp with fried artichokes, pumpkin tortelli with an Amaretto crumble, pappardelle with duck ragu and Pecorino crusted rack of lamb. For dessert, try an apple raisin tart with gelato.
Ingridients 1500 Grams Durum Flour 30 Grams Pumpkin Seed Oil 3 Whole Eggs 45 Gram Salt 1 Large pumpkin (quartered and seeded) 8 oz. finely chopped mustard fruit 12 oz Parmigiano ½ oz Ground Nutmeg 2oz Salt Pumpkin Tortelli Dough Mix all the dry ingredients in a mixer with dough hook and add all the wet ingredients. for 24 hours. Let the dough
Pumpkin Puree Recipe Roast pumpkin in 400F convection oven for Mash through the foodmill 2 hours until soft. and hang in a sieve a refrigerator for 12-14 over a bowl in remaining ingredients. hours. Discard the liquid. Mix all the Tortellis are served
Polpo alla Brace
with brown butter sauce.
Grilled Octopus with Chorizo, Chickpeas, Roasted Pear Tomatoes, and Black Kale, Serves Charred Scallions 2
Ingredients 2 baby octopi (poached in white wine and carrots, onions and celery for 2 hours soft) until 1 chorizo sausage (grilled and sliced into ¼ inch circles) 8oz cooked chickpeas (cooked till soft with onions and garlic) Nevertheless Michael believes that Italian is the dominant ethnic cuisine, 4 scallions (grilled “because of its simple ingredients and purity.” (By the way, at the Osteria with pepper until charred) olive oil, salt and you can get pizza or pasta with Bolognese sauce if you want something more 10 grape tomatoes “simple.’) Galata works hard at his restaurant: “I spend exactly 12 hours per (roasted 4 oz black kale blanched whole at 400F for 16 min) day there.” His dedication and skill have earned him the attention of a previ2oz fresh bread croutons and shocked ous subject of Amici Journal, Nick Stellino, probably the King of Italian TV 1 Tbsp of sherry chefs. “I’ve done a show with Stellino and will be featured in another on vinegar 1oz extra virgin olive TBS” in a couple of months. Many of his recipes “come from Mrs. [Egidiana] freshly ground black oil Maccioni,” Sirio’s wife. His own creations “are seasonally driven, but certain pepper to taste staples work year round.” Not surprisingly, given all the time he puts in cookCut the tentacles off ing for a living, he rarely cooks for himself at home. “I go out for dinner at per. Grill them until the octopus and toss them in olive oil, salt and pepcrispy and reserve. least one or two times a week.” chorizo, grape tomatoes Heat olive oil in a sauté pan, add and roast for 2 With all Michael Galata has going as the chef of an upscale mid-town back of the spoon, add 8oz of cooked min.Crush the tomatoes with the Manhattan eatery you’d think that was enough for anyone, right? Wrong! cooking broth. Add chickpeas and 2oz scallions, black kale, of the chickpea With his extensive experience in gourmet cooking, I figured that he’d ala boil for 1 min. sherry wine vinegar Remove from the and bring to ready have written a book on the subject or be coming out with one soon. So heat, pepper. In a bowl place chickpea mixtureadd croutons and cracked black I was taken aback when Michael told me, “Not right now, but I’d like to do octopus. Garnish with the broth and with fresh basil and top with the a book of my photography,” which he described as his “hobby.” I personally olive oil. think it’s more than that. He has quite a few samples of his work online at www.mikegalataphotography.com. Browsing through his web site it is not hard to appreciate Galata’s artistry, when it comes to photography. The man is fascinated by bright colors and honest emotion. He obviously has traveled extensively to some very exotic places and has made a vital and creative photographic record of the both the scenery and the people he has encountered. He also has a very enjoyable batch of interesting photos of the often surreal environment of New York City. It’s easy to imagine the publication of a book of Michael Galata’s photography.
So Michael is a “Renaissance Man” in his dual appeal to the visual and gastronomic senses. It is rare that one man can please his diners and his viewers in so many ways. It won’t be long before his accomplishments as both a chef and a photographer will be celebrated in a big way!
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Summer 2011 / 13
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