Go Back

First edition Culinary Contest "Paolo Urbani": the winners

11 April 2016

Saturday evening was completed the first edition of the Culinary Contest “Paolo Urbani, an event organized by the Paolo Urbani Foundation in collaboration with the University of flavors of Perugia. Seven finalists, fourteen boys from different states of the USA, selected from over one hundred participants of the most important American colleges.

The participants were able to experience the thrill of visiting Italy (for some of them it was the first trip), they were able to get to know the gastronomic culture of our country and learn the secrets on how to use the truffle in the kitchen by professional chefs, who They devoted themselves for ten days to the growth of the boys. The finalists were challenged on Saturday’s day in front of a jury of experts in the field:

  • Bruno Petronilli (Jury president) – Journalist and food critic
  • Michele Italiani – Sommelier
  • Laura Serra – Pleasure Magazine
  • Emanuele Mazzella – Starry chef
  • Riccardo Boresti – Urbani Tartufi Production Manager

In the end, for very little difference compared to the runners-up, he won the “Soigne” team composed by Rachel Walton and Samantha Santii of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, who presented as the scope of the category main dish a “Duck breast with stuffing of mousseline with truffle and leather in crust with truffle” and as a dish in the category chef’s tasting a “Foie gras truffle ice cream with compressed celery salad and lentils and granola rice“.

In second place Devin Davis and Kirsten Mathers of “Truffle Bound” team of Tampa, who presented as main dish a “Rabbit braze in jus of truffle, roasted rabbit loin stuffed with truffles and saddle roulade accompanied by spinach pasta and truffle with fried quail eggs“. As a chef’s tasting instead a “Truffle soufflé with truffle honey syrup and truffle ice cream with truffle cane sugar“. Third place and special prize for “Berets” team composed by Christopher Heinlein and Timothy San Pedro of Orange County, who presented as main dish a well-executed revisitation of an Umbrian dish: “Truffle braze with mashed cauliflower and truffle, masa crumble and crackers with olives garnished with a spicy pomegranate sauce“. The dish obtained the special prize of the best Umbrian recipe of the contest. As a chef’s tasting they have presented “Ravioli gyoza with seaweed noir of fresh truffles and onion in vinegar accompanied by veal sauce and mushrooms“. The performance of other competitors is also excellent.

“The truffle is a product that for us is in the DNA, we have the opportunity to taste it on many occasions, it is part of our culinary tradition”, said Petronilli at the end of the race. “This contest surprised me because a product that in the United States is usually served only in large restaurants and therefore belongs to schools of thought different from ours, has brought really encouraging results. The average level of the boys was high, the winners were those who, besides a good technique, have been shown to know how to interpret better than others the theme of the contest. Thanks therefore to Olga Urbani who has allowed the realization of this event, it is with initiatives like this that a product of extraordinary identity as the truffle will have more chance to be known in the macrocosm, to be interpreted also overseas according to those traditional principles that Italy is able to transmit to young people, providing new models to follow and new knowledge and bringing high the name of Italy in the world. Even the teams that have not entered the first three places have also received at the end of the evening urban recognition because, as underlined by Olga Urbani, special guest of the event: “There are no losers tonight, but you all won tonight! Having participated in this competition with so much enthusiasm, everyone comes out winners. I am sure that this is only the first step of a path of serious growth that, thanks to their commitment, seriousness and desire to learn, will amaze us again and gives us hope in a great future for a food so far from their culture as the truffle. From today we have fourteen truffle ambassadors in the world, new young spokespersons of Made in Italy, the dream for which my father has always struggled”.

Paolo Urbani, in fact, always encouraged young people to take initiatives in the field of restaurants and Italian food, urging them to carry on those that were his great passions. “Dad has spent his life in spreading the truffle culture in the world, our traditions, our territory, Olga Urbani continues. What better gift for him, see guys with such joy that are preparing to return overseas enriched with new flavors and new knowledge that we have been able to give, contributing to their growth and leaving a sign that will stop in time. What I would like to recommend to these young talents is never to feel, to be curious, to cultivate within themselves the greatest quality of every professional: humility. Only by remaining humble growth is real, continues and will bring them up. I hope that this initiative is just the beginning of an important collaboration with the University of Flavors and I hope that other companies will choose to repeat the same format. My father, who gave so much to the Made in Italy, continues to live thanks to these guys who will bring high in the world the spirit and philosophy of life that for six generations are transmitted by the urban “.

Of the same opinion David W. Hendricksen, general manager of the Art Institute who expressed, during the gala evening at the University of Flavors of Perugia, all the excitement of these days spent in Italy. “We have known the generosity of this region, its infinite virtues, also thanks to a project so important and positive that I am sure will have great following among our students. A day with Urbani changes your life and I am very proud to have known Olga and Bruno Urbani and their beautiful company. Words of recognition also for Marilena Liccardo, creator of the contest, “Irreplaceable and sensitivity that can open the hearts of those who meet” for Olga Urbani and defined by Hendricksen “Precious and rare as white truffle”.