Local chefs to co-host dinner with Iron Chef America judge

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Mario Rizotti visits Angelina in Green Bay on Aug. 20

Stephanie Ortiz Times Herald Correspondant

Photo by Stephanie Ortiz

Chef Erik Larsen, left, of Oconto, and Chef Ermanno Cervantes cook together in the small kitchen of Angelina in downtown Green Bay. Food Network’s Chef Mario Rizotti will join them Aug. 20 to host a reservation-only event.

Food Network’s Iron Chef America judge and Italian culinary expert Mario Rizotti is returning to Angelina in Green Bay for his “4 the Love of Italian Food Tour” on Aug. 20.

Alongside Angelina’s co-owner Chef Ermanno Cervantes, Chef Erik Larsen, of Oconto, will serve a four-course Italian meal with wine pairings, following a pre-dinner party that includes live music and appetizers, and a meet-and-greet with Rizotti.

Larsen said he was drawn to Angelina three months ago, for its high quality ingredients and ability to create everything on the menu from scratch in a small kitchen generally consisting of only one to three chefs at a time.

“My culinary background is primarily Asian, specifically Vietnamese, but my curiosity for Italian cuisine has grown immensely in recent years, and I knew this was the right place for me to further my skills and experience as a chef,” Larsen said. “Working with Ermanno has taught me so many finer points of cooking Mediterranean cuisine, which is complicated in its simplicity.”

Owners Angelina and Ermanno Cervantes welcome customers into their restaurant by introducing Wisconsin to traditional Sicilian dishes and take pride in homemade sauces, ravioli, meatballs, wood-fired oven pizza and more.

“I am happy to have a quality person like Erik by my side. He has a natural passion for food,” Ermanno Cervantes said.

Rizotti’s “4 the Love of Italian Food Tour” focuses on small to mid-sized cities throughout the U.S. He visits a different state every month, and within each state tours “4 cities, 4 restaurants, in 4 days” to teach Americans how to eat healthy with Italian cuisine.

He and Chef Adam Weisell, owner of Aurelia Osteria in Chicago, join local chefs in their kitchens to create authentic Italian meals in support of good health, and to educate guests on respected Italian products and vigorous living.

Angelina was selected for its exceptional reputation.

“It was an easy choice and privilege to team up with Chef Mario on his food crusade,” Ermanno Cervantes said. “Like Mario, I was surprised by America’s version of Italian food, and I was inspired to serve authentic Italian food true to my origin.”

During the Aug. 20 event, the four chefs will prepare a four-course meal at Angelina featuring a fresh, seasonal panzanella salad; rigatoni tossed in a pork and beef ragu; salmon with lentils and salsa versa; and an almond tiramisu, including a mid-meal palate cleanse of berry sorbet and aged balsamic. Each meal includes a glass of wine to elevate the particular flavors of the dish.

“I am looking forward and honored to work with someone of his stature,” Larsen said. “I am also excited for the collaboration between Ermanno and Mario. I believe both are innovative chefs who have exposed the wonders of Italian food to the Midwest, and it will be fun to witness their dynamic together.”

Located at 117 N. Adams St. in downtown Green Bay, Angelina plans to hold the event on its large outdoor patio. The festa begins at 3:30 p.m. with local musician Rob Anthony and passing antipasti, a meet-and-greet with Rizotti at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. Tickets are $120 per person and limited. Those interested in attending can make a reservation by contacting the restaurant at 920-437-7248 or Angelina@AngelinaGB.com.