Your Monday Motivation — Marc Vetri’s Mastering Pizza Cookbook Dinner Menu!

One week from today, Michael’s Genuine welcomes Chef Marc Vetri for a dinner celebrating the recipes from his just-released Mastering Pizza cookbook — with a side of Porchetta.  Now that’s a capital P!  The menu is set, and we are excited to share it for the first time today.  Click here to join Michael and the team at the OG on October 1 at 7pm for a night in good company enjoying the labor of love that making a cookbook the thoughtful way is. It just tastes better when it’s done right.

Passed
Salsiccia Calzone with fennel sausage, mozzarella, and tomato sauce
Zucchine Pizza with shaved zucchini, stracciatella, and mint
Cacio e Pepe Pizza with pecorino and black pepper
Anchovy Pecorino al Taglio

First
Italian Caesar with escarole, bagna cauda, parmigiana, egg, anchovy
Wood Roasted Calabaza Salad with arugula, pecorino, walnuts fried sage, brown butter vinaigrette

Main
Slow Roasted Porchetta
Wood Roasted Marble Potatoes with fennel and lemon
Wood Roasted Cauliflower with pine nuts and plumped currants

Dessert
Nutella stuffed pizza

Salsiccia Pizza

Mastering Pizza Cookbook Dinner Includes:
Reception with a welcome cocktail and passed bites
Sit down 3 course (including dessert) family style dinner
Free flowing red, white, rose and beer all night long
Signed book
Tax and gratuity
$150 per person

Pizza remains America’s favorite food, but one that many people hesitate to make at home. In Mastering Pizza, the award-winning Philly-based chef tackles the topic with his trademark precision, making perfect pizza available to anyone. The recipes gleaned from years spent researching recipes in Italy and perfecting them in America have a variety of base doughs of different hydration levels, which allow home cooks to achieve the same results with a regular kitchen oven as they would with a professional pizza oven. The book covers popular standards like Margherita and Carbonara while also featuring unexpected toppings such as mussels and truffles and even a dessert pizza made with Nutella. With transporting imagery from Italy and hardworking step-by-step photos to demystify the process, Mastering Pizza will help you make pizza as delicious as you find in Italy.

Marc’s photoshoot living room takeover is reminiscent of Michael’s experience for Genuine Pizza in May. We learned a lot from the process!

On Your Marc… Mastering Pizza Cookbook Dinner at Michael’s Genuine

Get set to spread the love.  The pizza kind.  We are tickled to again welcome into our kitchen the one and only Chef Marc Vetri — this time to celebrate our favorite food.  Everyone’s favorite food.  Pizza!  You can’t go back to any old pie once you’ve tasted an extraordinary one — and we’ve got plenty on October 1!  For one seating and one night only beginning at 7PM, Michael hosts his friend and the founder of Philadelphia’s Vetri Family of Restaurants for the Mastering Pizza Cookbook dinner featuring a handful of the recipes he has perfected to create artisanal pies at home. The last time we cooked together in Miami was February 22, 2012 at Harry’s original location in the Miami Design District. It’s been way too long, and we’re ready to make it up to you… and ourselves!  Tickets are live today HERE!

Mastering Pizza Dinner Includes reception with a welcome cocktail and passed bites, sit down 3-course (including dessert) family style dinner, free flowing red, white and rosé wine — as well as beer — all night long, a signed book, and tax and gratuity for $150 per person.

Pizza remains America’s favorite food, but one that many people hesitate to make at home. In Mastering Pizza, the award-winning Philly-based chef tackles the topic with his trademark precision, making perfect pizza available to anyone. The recipes gleaned from years spent researching recipes in Italy and perfecting them in America have a variety of base doughs of different hydration levels, which allow home cooks to achieve the same results with a regular kitchen oven as they would with a professional pizza oven. The book covers popular standards like Margherita and Carbonara while also featuring unexpected toppings such as mussels and truffles and even a dessert pizza made with Nutella. With transporting imagery from Italy and hardworking step-by-step photos to demystify the process, Mastering Pizza will help you make pizza as delicious as you find in Italy.

“Mastering Pizza: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pizza, Focaccia, and Calzone” isn’t the chef’s first cookbook; the man behind the eponymous Vetri Cucina first published a collection recipes in 2008 with “Il Viaggio Di Vetri: A Culinary Journey,” detailing his culinary roots of when he began learning the craft in Bergamo, Italy, and the path that led him to the opening of Vetri.

Philly boys together and victorious in Minnesota this last Super Sunday.

His other books, 2011’s “Rustic Italian Food”– for which we hosted a dinner at Harry’s Pizzeria’s chef pop up series — and 2015’s “Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi, and Risotto,” likewise infuse stories from Vetri’s time in Italy alongside his recipes. With his latest work, Vetri shifts focus to the food customers may be more accustomed to if they’ve ever visited the area’s several Pizzeria Vetri locations, notably more casual (and affordable) than Vetri Cucina. The release date coincides with the five-year anniversary of the first Pizzeria Vetri location.

Michael’s forthcoming pizza cookbook, Genuine Pizza: Better Pizza at Home, releases in May of next year.  And an invitation to Pizzeria Vetri to launch it. It’s only right in the city of brotherly love, don’t you think, Marc?!  We can’t wait!

Kneading Lessons & a Learning Legacy on the Road with the Vetri Family

Growth happens when we are exposed to new things — or sometimes, the same things but new ways of doing them.  When we have those with the experience, passion and patience to teach us, something beautiful happens in the exchange.  An invitation to cook at the annual Great Chefs Event for Alex’s Lemonade Stand in Philadelphia last week presented such an opportunity for The Genuine Hospitality Group culinary assistant Dillion Wolff — to stage at Vetri Cucina, thanks to Michael and friend Marc Vetri.  A chef respected by his peers for his talent and heart, Marc has cultivated a stable of acclaimed chefs and restaurants since his flagship Vetri Cucina opened in Philly in 1998. It’s hard enough to be a for-profit business in this business, so 20 years is many lifetimes in the restaurant world, especially when you are also running a foundation in tandem.  Vetri Cucina set the tone and proved a solid foundation from which to build, recognized for the level of care taken in honoring and elevating the traditional Italian kitchen.  Its special tasting menu has minted this gem in the canon of American dining and won multiple James Beard Awards for its offspring, Jeff Michaud and Mike Solomonov to name a few.  If Marc is the OG progenitor, Vetri Cucina is the primordial Italian wedding soup.

The dining experience at Vetri is an ode to the mother country and its love of food unlike any other. In addition to the dining room, guests can arrange for private dinners, as well as partake in cooking classes on site.  As Dillion found out, perhaps the education most important happens daily among its cooks in service — a recipe of teamwork and technique.  It’s a place where bread, pasta and even polenta made from scratch means milling the flour in house.

“Going into it there were a few things I was curious about, like making fresh pasta, for example,” Dillion reflected on the phone Monday.  “How they run service is so different than Harry’s or Genuine Pizza — even Michael’s Genuine or Amara.  We are talking a 30 seat restaurant where 40 covers is a crazy busy night.”

TGHG Culinary Director Bradley Herron snagged Dillion for his team in February 2017 from Michael’s Genuine, where he had been working the line for a year after interning there during culinary school.  The culinary assistant role is a unique one, providing support to all Genuine group entities — from Amara at Paraiso to Fi’lia in the Bahamas to our commissary kitchen — with ongoing training, their chefs with last minute help on the line, working Michael Schwartz Events including private parties from cocktail receptions to cooking classes and off-site catering, and handling special projects.  Really everything under the sun.  Most recently, Dillion worked with the Genuine Pizza cookbook team on a week-long photoshoot.  The 150 pictures of recipes and lifestyle shots due to publisher Abrams Books quickly became 180, including several step by step instructive images for which he and colleague Brandon Green served not only as prep cooks but subjects.

Some of the Genuine Pizza cookbook photo wall, most of Dillion’s hands!

“This job requires flexibility and versatility, but it demands a good attitude,” Bradley explained.  “You have to be able to jump in to help and get things done at a moment’s notice, and they need to be done right. Dillion is as fast as he is proficient, but these are strengths that as a cook you always want to be improving upon.  That comes with experience, time on the line and repeated exposure to new environments and things.”

Dinner at Vetri is conceived based on each table, and everything isn’t the same.  The on the fly structure is part of the challenge, the fun and the instruction.

“It was cool to see how dynamic the approach is with the tasting menu,” Dillion reflects.  “It’s not just what the chef wants to do, it’s trying to make the diner’s experience as custom and to their tastes and food preferences as possible.”

The first day, Dillion was a fly on the wall for service, and they would make him an extra of each dish to taste. Tuesday was spent with the baker, milling fresh flour and baking bread.  He worked service with “pasta guy” and also helped with private events upstairs.

“Matt, the executive chef… On Monday he was the dishwasher.  I mean, it really sets the tone when the first courses come in heavy and the pasta cook comes in to help put it out.  You could tell in the kitchen that it was a huge team effort,” he reflected. “Everyone will do whatever. The whole operation is impressive, the attention to detail and craft but also people being genuine with each other — and incredibly welcoming to me.  They didn’t want to ask me to do things, like the stuff that’s not glamorous, and I’m there to work and to do anything. I had so many questions and no one got annoyed with me!”

The City of Brotherly Love indeed. Something we can all benefit from emulating!  Follow Dillion on Instagram @dillion_wolff.

Ready for Its Cheese Pull Moment in the Sun, Better Pizza at Home is the Star of Chef Michael Schwartz’s New Genuine Pizza Cookbook

Puttanesca with marinara, stracciatella, anchovies, capers, olives and basil.

Feast your eyes on Genuine Pizza! Shooting on location this week on Miami Beach, Chef Michael Schwartz and a crack team of cooks and creatives are preparing the final elements of Genuine Pizza: Better Pizza at Home, due to publish in Spring 2019 with Abrams Books. With more than 75 recipes, the Chef shares his genuine approach to making better pizza at home.  The pictures make the book after all, and we’re serious about capturing the experience true to hand-formed!

“My philosophy is simple and straightforward—the secret to good food is good food, and it starts with sourcing great ingredients,” says Schwartz. “Genuine Pizza is my approach as an American chef who puts quality and simplicity first. Pizza has always been an important part of all my restaurants.  It’s an opportunity for expression and I want the home cook to feel like they now have a great resource that they can turn to and enjoy using.”

Teamwork makes the dream work (left to right): Prop Haus’ Martha Bernabe, TGHG culinary assistant Dillion Wolff, chef Michael Schwartz, culinary assistant Brandon Green and camera assistant Sophie Fabbri.

The popularity of pizza at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink inspired Schwartz to open a casual pizza restaurant, Genuine PizzaTM, and this book reveals the chef’s tried and true approach for making his signature pies. Schwartz believes that the home cook can and should eat better pizza at home, and so Genuine Pizza is inviting and fun, covering the basics first, so that readers can then be adventurous in their own kitchens, mixing and matching ingredients that appeal to them, to create the perfect pie.

Brad and Brandon.

Beginning with Pizza Fundamentals, Genuine Pizza explores everything from useful equipment and must-have ingredients to detailed, step-by-step techniques for how to make incredible dough, including recipes for gluten-free and rye-based options. Part two is all about composing nuanced, flavorful pizzas, with recipes that include classics such as Margherita and Soppressata, as well as pies with more unorthodox, yet irresistible topping combinations. Schwartz shares his favorites, like Zucchini with ricotta, anchovy, chile, lemon, grana padano, mint, and basil, BLT with bacon with arugula, tomato, and taleggio, and Pastrami on rye crust. Inspired by the Miami locale, pizzas also feature local Rock Shrimp and Slow-roasted Pork, Schwartz’s nod to the Cuban sandwich in pizza form.

Because no one can live on pizza alone, Genuine Pizza also explores Snacks, Soups, Salads, Main Courses, Desserts, and Drinks, forming a guidebook to creating balanced, vibrant meals, centered around everyone’s favorite food. “Pizza is just the beginning—it’s a jumping off point to colorful, delicious meals at home,” says Schwartz.

Follow #genuinepizzaathome and visit thegenuinekitchen.com for more information, events, and behind the scenes content leading up to the release.

Photographer Sidney Bensimon with TGHG Culinary Director Bradley Herron.

[Recipe] Mango Upside Down Cake

Whether you are following your nose and creeping front yards to forage the perfect specimen, or running and hiding while trying not to squish the rotten ones, no one can escape mango season in South Florida. It’s here!

Michael surprised us this morning with the fruits of his Graham tree home-baked into an upside down cake.  Crumbs are about all that’s left!  “It’s no Haden, but my kids love when I make this cake, so I brought you guys some!”  Graham is a fiberless cultivar that originated in Trinidad and became popular nursery stock tree in Florida for home growing due to its fine flavor and good disease resistance. It was even selected as a curator’s choice mango for Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s 2008 mango festival. Not bad!  

Fresh fruit caramelized and embedded in rich buttery cake makes a great dessert any time of year, especially this time.  The beauty of this one-pan cake is its simplicity: you don’t even need a cake pan.  When people take their first bite, the reaction is always the same: oh my God! It’s great with a scoop of basil ice cream as a point of contrast to the caramelized to the point of almost burnt brown sugar… or just plain vanilla will always do!  Enjoy this oldie but goodie below, from Michael’s Genuine Food: Down-to-Earth Cooking for People Who Love to Eat.

Mango Upside-Down Cake

Serves 8 to 10

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2 1-pound firm-ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, and cut into ½ inch slices
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, separated
2⁄3 cup buttermilk
Basil Ice Cream (recipe follows), optional

Put a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add the 4 tablespoons butter. When the butter is melted, stir in the brown sugar. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture looks like caramel, about 5 minutes. Swirl the pan around so the caramel covers the bottom completely. Remove from the heat. Tightly fan the mango slices over the caramel in concentric circles to cover the entire bottom, overlapping the slices.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat the softened butter with a handheld electric mixer on medium-high speed. Gradually sprinkle in 1 cup sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Stir in the buttermilk, then add the remaining dry ingredients, stirring to incorporate.

Beat the egg whites in another bowl with cleaned beaters until frothy.

Sprinkle in the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar and continue to beat until the whites hold stiff peaks. Gently fold half of the beaten whites into the batter with a rubber spatula to lighten it. Then fold in the remaining whites; it’s okay
if some white streaks remain.

Pour the batter over the mangoes and spread evenly to the edges of the skillet. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center, 45 to 50 minutes.

Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the inside rim of the pan to loosen it from the sides and make sure the cake will come out easily. Set a serving plate firmly on top of the pan and carefully flip it over to invert the cake onto the plate. Cool before serving with basil ice cream, if desired.