Celebrity Chef Maria Helm Sinskey Kicks Off Gracie’s Summer Series
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
This summer’s lineup of Star Chefs include Chef Maria Helm Sinskey of Napa, Calif.; Chef Ciril Hitz, master baker and department chair of the International Baking & Pastry Institute at Johnson & Wales University; and Chef Neath Pal, an award-winning culinary arts instructor at Johnson & Wales University who specializes in International and Asian cuisines.
“We are overjoyed to have this trio of chefs return to Gracie’s,” said Ellen Gracyalny, owner of Gracie’s. “All three chefs are veterans of our Star Chef Series and were nothing short of spectacular in their prior collaborations at Gracie’s. Each chef brings a very individual passion and diverse technique to these events. We are truly honored to be able to blend their talents with those of our team and showcase their distinctive areas of expertise.”
The informal and intimate setting of the Star Chef Series allows the chefs to step out of the kitchen from time to time and talk with guests about the meal and their experience. Wine experts from The Savory Grape, one of Rhode Island’s premier wine shops, will be on hand at each of the Star Chef Dinners to describe the wine paired with each course and to answer questions.
Details of Gracie’s upcoming Star Chef Dinners are included below:
July 11 – Star Chef Maria Helm Sinskey
On Wednesday, July 11, distinguished Chef Maria Helm Sinskey returns to Providence to reprise her role as Star Chef at Gracie’s Star Chef Series. Sinskey - a celebrated chef, cookbook author and guest of a number of culinary TV shows – will lead the Gracie’s team in the kitchen.
Also joining the team, providing wine pairings for the evening will be vintner Robert Sinskey, owner of Robert Sinskey Vineyards in Napa, Calif., and husband of Chef Sinskey. The pair will provide a truly unique collaboration, merging their talents with the Gracie’s team while matching the culinary direction of Chef Sinskey and Gracie’s Executive Chef Matthew Varga with hand-picked wine selections by vintner Sinskey. Chefs Sinskey and Varga will create a dinner driven by seasonally-inspired, local ingredients while vintner Sinskey educates guests about the wines included in the Star Chef Dinner – made from the 200 acres of premium vineyards that comprise Robert Sinskey Vineyards in the Carneros and Stags Leap districts of Napa and Sonoma Valleys.
August 6 – Star Chef Ciril Hitz
On Monday, August 6, Ciril Hitz returns to the Gracie’s kitchen as Star Chef. Nationally and internationally acclaimed for his award-winning bread and pastry creations, Hitz is actively involved with the Bread Bakers Guild of America and is department chair of the International Baking & Pastry Institute at Johnson & Wales University. The Swiss native has earned a number of culinary awards and achievements over the years, including being named to Dessert Professional’s 2010 list of Top Ten Bead Bakers in America, and Pastry Art & Design magazine’s 2007 and 2008 lists of Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America. World-renowned for pioneering the use of vivid natural colors in bread sculpture, Hitz will arrive at Gracie’s with his signature, mobile wood-fired oven, which he will park outside the restaurant. He and Gracie’s Executive Chef Matthew Varga will fill then fill the streets of Providence with the aroma of sumptuous, smoky creations before delivering them to diners inside.
Hitz’ work has been featured on the NBC Today Show as well as The Food Network and TLC. Additionally, he has penned two books, Baking Artisan Breads and Baking Artisan Pastries & Breads, and has authored numerous magazine articles. He has also produced two DVD series, Bread Art and Better Bread.
September 10 – Neath Pal
On Monday, September 10, Gracie’s welcomes acclaimed local chef and educator Neath Pal. Currently an instructor at the Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts – specializing in international and Asian cuisines – Pal developed his skill and passion for culinary arts while studying at the prestigious LaVarenne cooking school in Paris. Upon returning to Providence, Pal helped establish the well-respected L’Epicureo before opening his own Neath’s New American Bistro in 1998. Praised by the New York Times as a “giant leap eastward” for the Providence restaurant scene, the restaurant highlighted flavors from Pal’s native Cambodia and affirmed Pal as one of Rhode Island’s most talented and creative culinary artists. After nearly a decade, Chef Pal closed his successful restaurant to spend time with his children. In 2008, he joined Johnson & Wales University as an instructor.
To make reservations for a Gracie’s Star Chef Dinner, call 401.272.7811 as the number of participants is limited. To learn more about the dinners, visit www.graciesprov.com. You can also follow Gracie’s on Facebook at http://bit.ly/GraciesProv.
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