Cuisine Preview - Contessa Enrica Rocca in Chicago: Eataly Cooking School and dinner at RPM Italian


Next week, November 8-15, Contessa Enrica Rocca will be in Chicago to introduce Chicagoans to her Venice, London and Cape Town cooking schools, which Gourmet ranked as one of the top ten in the world. While in Chicago, Chef Rocca will wield her culinary prowess at numerous events including a dinner at RPM Italian and a cooking demonstration at Eataly’s La Scuola to give Chicago visitors a taste of what to expect when visiting her world class culinary schools.



Since its inception in 1993 in Cape Town, now run as a franchise by Emma Freddi, the school has expanded internationally, to include a London school run by Rocca’s daughters Charlotte and Claire and Venice where Enrica now spends most of her time. Rocca founded the school in order to introduce tourists and locals alike to an authentic Italian experience. During a full-day cooking class, Rocca takes students on a market tour to demonstrate the importance of choosing the finest ingredients. David Baker from the Financial Times described his market tour with Rocca as, “like shopping with your best friend’s mother. She’s a little daunting, but utterly loveable…”



On Tuesday, November 10 at 6:30 p.m., Contessa Enrica Rocca and Chef José Arevalos of RPM Italian will host a dinner at RPM, 52 West Illinois, Chicago, inspired by Rocca’s highly regarded cookbook, Venice on a Plate…but what a Plate! In addition to delicious Venetian food, the chefs will carefully pair each course with fine Italian wine including Rocca’s own private label prosecco.



Enrica Rocca’s bubbly personality and commitment to creating unique and thoughtful Italian fare make her the perfect RPM Italian guest chef,’ said Doug Psaltis, Executive Chef at RPM Italian. ‘We are eager to see the Contessa in action.”



Chef Rocca plans to indulge dinner guests with grilled sepia, wild mushroom risotto, and braised pork shank, finishing with a cream of mascarpone alongside Enrica’s own panna cotta. The event is $125 (plus tax; gratuity not included) per person and may be reserved by contacting the special events team at (312) 955-1413.




Then, on November 12, Contessa Enrica Rocca will demonstrate the joys of Venetian cooking through the creation of cicchetti, or traditional Venetian canapés, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at La Scuola di Eataly Chicago’s “Chef’s Kitchen” (43 E Ohio St).  Rocca’s presentation will not only touch upon the basics of Northern Italian cooking but also Italian culture, preparing five of her favorite cicchetti and pairing them with delicious wines for guests to enjoy.



Rocca plans to indulge visitors with an eggplant pizza, shrimp with mint and lemon, stuffed shells with ricotta, mackerel with bread crumbs and pork ribs with rosemary (menu subject to change). Tickets for the event are $95.00 and are available for purchase here.




About Rocca:


Rocca began her career in hospitality in Lausanne, Switzerland and has since traveled the world, running successful restaurants and cooking schools in Cape Town, London and Venice.  Now well-known as a European television personality and cooking instructor, Rocca has received much acclaim: The Financial Times describes her as the “‘Cooking Countess,’ founder of an out-of-the-ordinary cooking school," and Gourmet listed her school as one of the 10 best cooking schools in the world. In the fall of 2014, Rocca published “Venice on a Plate… but what a Plate!” a highly praised cookbook with mouth-watering recipes, beautifully plated on traditional Murano glass. The book is a winner of two “Gourmand Cook Book Awards;” ”Best in the World, Historical Recipes” and “Best Local Cuisine, For Italy.” In addition, Rocca recently debuted her own line of “Enrica Rocca Prosecco” in the United States, following a successful launch in Europe. Like everything Rocca does, she used only the finest ingredients for her prosecco, combining high quality Glera grapes with traditional winemaking practices of the Veneto region.



Given Enrica’s passion for Italian cuisine and culture it is only natural she would participate in La Scuola di Eataly Chicago’s “Chef Kitchen.” Italian businessman Oscar Farinetti founded Eataly in 2007 in order to make high-quality Italian food and drink available to everyone at fair prices in an environment where people can eat, shop and learn. Eataly has since blossomed with locations in Italy, Japan, United Arab Emirates and the United States. The Chicago outlet has become a must for any food lover.


Recently, Rocca began a highly successful collaboration with the iconic international brand, IKEA.  The Swiss branch of the Swedish company commissioned Rocca to work alongside their team to innovate the in-store food options. Thanks to Rocca’s culinary expertise the new menu is lighter, fresher and a welcome shift from the Swedish fare once offered.





Photos courtesy of Enrica Rocca

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