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SVCI Food and Wine Celebration Chef to Open New Restaurant
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Friday, March 15, 2024
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

Britt Rescigno stood in the middle of the Sun Valley Culinary Institute as Food and Wine Festival enthusiasts milled around her and looked through the windows across the street.

"I can see where my new restaurant will be from here," she happily proclaimed. "The name will be Fiamma, which means 'little flame' in Italian. It will be a high-end restaurant where we will serve homemade pasta and game cooked over open flame--sexy food--and guests will be able to see in the kitchen."

Rescigno, a Food Network Chopped Champion who also has taken down Bobby Flay on Beat Bobby Flay, had no idea she would be opening a restaurant in Ketchum a year ago. Then, she was just tickled pink to be taking part in the Sun Valley Culinary Institute's inaugural Food & Wine Celebration where she sparred with James Beard Award Winner Jonathon Sawyer to the delight of audiences.

But Rescigno and her fiance Kinsey Leodler fell in love with Sun Valley during that weekend and returned frequently over the following months to help the Culinary Institute out at its fall fundraiser and to cook for private parties. The two, who currently live in New Jersey, found a site for their new restaurant in a new building being built behind Serva next to Vintage.

"The area, of course, is so beautiful, and the community so wonderful. When I mentioned to Kinsey that we could open a restaurant here, she said, 'You're nuts.' But the second time we came out we looked around and she said , 'Yeah.' It's a match made in heaven, and we found an angel investor. So, we're hoping to open next December, January," she said.

"I can't wait to get into mountain biking. I've always been an active hiker and this offers a place where I can be active," said Leodler, also a chef who cut her teeth on Southern cooking of Alabama where she grew up before broadening her repertoire cooking at restaurants in California and Seattle.

Terri LeFaivre was among those who greeted the returning chefs, while meeting the new ones.

"The gala dinner last year was fabulous--I particularly liked how the chefs came out and talked to us about the dishes. It was a lot of fun to meet them. And it was wonderful how so many auctioned off dinners to benefit the Culinary Institute," she said.

Sawyer said he plans to present a cooking demonstration on Saturday that will show people how easy it is to make Gnocchi Ala Amartriciana, or Potato Gnocchi with Sauce. Each person, he said, will be given one egg, one potato and one cup of flour as they get a chance to make gnocchi for themselves.

And, yes, he said, he's considering a move from Chicago to Sun Valley, as well.

"Right now my children are in high school so we have to wait a few years, but my wife and I have always wanted to live in the mountains and we've always wanted to live in the desert," he said.

"I love this event because I love the different approach to education that the Culinary Institute offers," he added. "It's small, hands-on, experience-based. The kids are getting experience so they can figure it out from there. And this Food and Wine Festival is a great thing for the community--just think of the great chefs it's bringing here, some who will end up moving here and being part of the food scene."

"It's an incredible four days of world-class food," said Karl Johann Uri, executive director of the Sun Valley Culinary Institute. "The beauty of it is that its small scale allows you to get to know the chefs."

Peggy Weiss, who serves on the board of the Sun Valley Culinary Institute, said the inaugural Food & Wine Celebration last year was amazing as she and her staff at The Event party company laid out a sea of wine glasses on the tables at Trail Creek Cabin.

"The Food and Wine Festival introduces community members to the institute who might not have even realized it's here," she said. "More importantly, it raises fund for the students--our biggest challenge right now is finding housing for them. And the chefs are so enthusiastic about helping, even auctioning off dinners that they cook."

COMING UP

The Sun Valley Food & Wine Celebration continues through Saturday.

* Today--Friday, March 15--Chef John Sundstrom, who owns Lark Restaurant in Seattle, will offer a cooking class at 11 a.m., which will be followed by a Knife Skills Class at 2 p.m.

Britt Rescigno will throw her second annual Apres Ski Burger Bash at Apple's Bar and Grill in Warm Springs from 3 to 6 p.m.

* On Saturday--March 16--Jonathon Sawyer will hold his Mastering Gnocchi Cooking class at 11 a.m.

The Food & Wine Celebration will conclude with an Apres Ski Tasting featuring nibbles cooked up by Chefs Ethan Stowell, Jonathon Sawyer, John Sundstrom, Britt Rescigno, Rodrigo Herrera and Nadina Keller from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Ketchum Limelight Hotel.

Learn more at https://sunvalleyculinary.org.

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