By Dulcy B. Hooper | Courtesy photos

Salamander Resort & Spa and Forever Gourmet, a culinary experience and marketplace business based in Middleburg, are once again partnering to bring to the area another of Europe’s most celebrated chefs: Giancarlo Morelli. A series of culinary-themed events is scheduled to take place at Salamander from Nov. 15-17, 2019.

“Personally, this is a great opportunity to connect and create with a world-class chef and to combine our culinary styles to create a unique experience for our guests,” said Ryan Arensdorf, Executive Chef at Salamander Resort & Spa. “This is also a wonderful opportunity to branch out and learn how an esteemed chef approaches food halfway across the world. My team is very excited to learn as much as they can from him and look forward to the menu and experience they will help create.”

Chef Morelli.

After years spent traveling around the globe (including time in South America studying the culinary techniques of Amazonian tribes), Chef Morelli returned to Italy to open his first restaurant, Pomiroeu, in Seregno, north of Milan. He subsequently opened two more restaurants in Milan, as well as one on the north coast of Sardinia. Along the way, Morelli has received numerous cooking awards, including a coveted Michelin star.

Atticus Lyon, co-founder of Forever Gourmet along with wife Roberta Marcenaro-Lyon, said that, “One of the best things we are able to do is to bring these extraordinary chefs — who are celebrated in Europe but not household names in the United States — and give them exposure to the local market. I am excited about that, and also looking forward to seeing how Middleburg inspires Chef Morelli.”

Morelli says that his dishes “reflect my childhood, my mom, the spirit of products as they are. . . everything genuine that in nature reveals its essence.” He is known for his five rules (1) simple and direct food; (2) no more than four or five ingredients; (3) balance is the goal; (4) no salt, only to correct; and (5) art for the eyes. He is an advocate of foraged foods and believes that foraging is a vital part of a healthy diet.

Atticus Lyon & wife Roberta Marcenaro-Lyon.

While other chefs push the boundaries of cooking, Morelli is known for holding to a more traditional path. His risotto dishes are particularly well known, and he is a previous winner of Italy’s “Riso Gallo Risotto dell’Anno” Rissoto of the Year prize. He attend food events around the world to promote his “gastronomic philosophy” and often visits culinary schools to share that philosophy as well as his talents as a chef. High on the list is teaching students how to cook risotto.

The weekend will kick off with “A Chef, Prosecco, and Two Sopranos” on Friday, Nov. 15, from 7- 9 p.m. in the Middleburg Ballroom at Salamander. The evening will finish with a performance by Camille Zamora and Monica Yunus, talented young sopranos from New York City.

On Saturday, Nov. 16, there will be a cooking class with Chef Morelli from 2- 4 p.m. in the Cooking Studio. While Morelli’s cooking may be the primary attraction, anyone attending the events will also want to listen closely to what he has to say. After all, how many world-class chefs eschew the use of salt? That evening, there will be an eight-course dinner at Harriman’s Virginia Piedmont and on Sunday, Nov. 16, a three course brunch will take place in the Cooking Studio.

Jacob Musyt.

“Bringing a Michelin Star chef to Middleburg provides an extraordinary experience for our guests who may not have the option to travel to Italy and enjoy Chef Morelli’s food for themselves,” said Jacob Musyt, Salamander Resort & Spa’s Food and Beverage Director. “Curating once in a lifetime opportunities is something we strive to do and the Michelin Chef Series does just that.

To have the opportunity to meet Chef Morelli, work side by side with him, taste the food and feel the passion that has awarded him a Michelin Star, all just a few minutes from home, is truly an experience that doesn’t come around often.”

Musyt said that he and Salamander’s team of culinary professionals are looking forward to the series of events. “We will guide Chef Morelli through the abundant list of farmers and items produced in the region to capture a true Italian and Virginia Michelin experience.” ML

Chef Giancarlo Morelli will be at Salamander Resort & Spa Nov. 15, 16 and 17. For reserva- tions, call 540-326-4070. 

This article first appeared on on 10/8/2019.