Sophisticated New Yorkers recognize the refinement of Italian fare, which developed over millennia according to region and season. Italian cuisine is not the typical “comfort food.” It’s also not just pizza. (Pizza in Italy is what bread and butter is in America.)
Restaurateur Gianfranco Sorrentino hosted a Members & Press Cocktail Reception for his non-profit organization Gruppo Italiano (GI) at Il Gattopardo last week. The New York based non-profit is an evolution from the original Gruppo Ristoratori Italiani (GRI), which was established in 1979 to increase the awareness and to promote the image of authentic Italian cuisine through member restaurants, culinary scholarships and events. The event featured guest speakers providing attendees with the opportunity to learn more about GI while enjoying Cocktails and Hors D’Oeuvres from the Il Gattopardo kitchen.
Speaker and founder of GI Gianfranco Sorrentino noted that the authenticity of a cuisine starts with the chef, which is why GI puts emphasis on educating future chefs on authentic Italian ingredients and cooking techniques, in combination with an in-depth knowledge of Italian wines. Education is accomplished through a program where American culinary students are offered the opportunity to visit Italy, and aspiring Italian chefs are offered internship opportunities in the U.S.
Keynote speaker and renowned wine consultant Charles Scicolone pointed out how much the selection of fine Italian wines in the U.S. has increased over the last decades thanks to organizations such as GI.
Gruppo Italiano provides a constant flow of information about Italian cuisine to member restaurants, U.S. press, culinary schools, importers, distributors and general consumers with a serious interest in authentic Italian food. GI members include influential Italian restaurateurs, distributors, importers, and other prominent business and cultural leaders, and continues to be one of the most respected culinary and cultural organizations in the country. The non-profit provides opportunities in advertising, networking, high-profile events and media placement, as well as recruiting and staffing solutions for businesses in the United States that represent authentic Italian products. Additionally, GI provides the opportunity to Italian businesses in the U.S. to host Italian cooks, chefs, managers and sommeliers. Gruppo Italiano also serves as the consultant to the Italian cuisine curriculum developed and introduced at the Culinary Institute of America. Through these efforts, the CIA opened the acclaimed Catherine De Medici restaurant in Hyde Park, New York, which still serves as an invaluable educational resource for the college.
Il Gattopardo is located in the historically landmarked Rockefeller Townhouses at 13-15 West 54th Street, New York City. The restaurant boasts a stunning Atrium, in which a wide range of corporate and private events are held.