Chocolate cannoli, espresso shooters and limoncello gelato were just a few of the samplings on the dessert table as the Food Network's Iron Chef America Judge Mario Rizzotti stopped in at Hartsfield Village to visit good friend Chef Gabe Rosado last week and cook up authentic Italian desserts. The kitchen tour was part of Hartsfield Village’s “Taste of Italy” event where residents had an opportunity to ask the Iron Chef expert about authentic Italian foods and sample a few of those delicacies presented by the Hartsfield culinary staff.
The Italian culinary expert says he wants Americans to become more familiar with the availability of rare Italian products. "I've spent my career educating food lovers about the importance of using authentic Italian products,” Rizzotti said. “I was happy to share some food preparation tips with residents, in particular, Mary DellaChiesa."
The 97 year-old has been a Hartsfield Village resident for the past 12 years. DellaChiesa was born in the northern Province of Varese, Italy about 8 kilometers from Milan. Growing up, she was an only child. Instead of learning to cook and clean like other girls her age, she said she was more interested in following in her father’s footsteps. He was the owner of the only hardware store in the area.
She came to America in 1950 when she married husband Patrick (Pasquale) and settled in East Chicago. For a wedding gift, a friend gave her an Italian cookbook.
“I realized I needed to learn not only how to cook, but to convert all the measurements from metric grams to standard ounces and pounds,” DellaChiesa said. “I started with roasts and steaks and over the years customized the recipes I learned to make them my own.”
This passion for using authentic Italian ingredients in their favorite recipes brought DellaChiesa together with Rizzotti for a culinary conversation at Hartsfield’s Taste of Italy event.
DellaChiesa shares the same philosophy as both chefs – Rizzotti and Rosado. In Italian she said, se mangi, vivi bene which translates to (loosely), if you eat well, you live well.
At Hartsfield Village, Rosado serves as executive chef and draws on his expertise from hotel, restaurant and country club venues. He agrees with this philosophy and strives to elevate residents’ dining experience on a daily basis. He said that he understands mealtimes are an important part of Hartsfield living, giving residents an opportunity to socialize and provide a better quality of life.
“We believe that residents at Hartsfield Village should have a dining experience that meets or exceeds the finest comparable restaurants,” Rosado said.
A continuing care retirement community, the beautifully appointed setting ensures that residents live comfortably, providing increased healthcare and services as their needs change. Hartsfield Village offers independent living and assisted-living apartments, rehabilitation, nursing and a newly redesigned memory support unit for peace of mind for aging adults and their families.
For more information about the programs and services available at Hartsfield Village Continuing Care Retirement Community, visit hartsfieldvillage.com or call 219-934-0750.