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mongo_jones

piero selvaggio

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was just looking at selvaggio's site. i've had the privilege of eating at valentino's--but is he really "the father of modern italian cuisine"? obviously there is a whole lot of vanity involved in such sites but is this a tenable claim?

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was just looking at selvaggio's site. i've had the privilege of eating at valentino's--but is he really "the father of modern italian cuisine"? obviously there is a whole lot of vanity involved in such sites but is this a tenable claim?

Anyone who calls himself that is almost certain not to be and is inviting de-bunking. (I remember the previous owner of this house telling me "... and I'm a gourmet chef." I didn't even need to look around at the insane way he had the kitchen set up, just thought to myself, "if you were really a 'gourmet chef,' whatever you think that is, what you would have said is '... and I cook.'")

Yes, there's vanity there, but there's also terrible arrogance. No matter how good you may be or may think you are, you can't say something like that without simply dismissing history and your predecessors. That, to me, is the most offensive thing I can think of. He might be the little brother of modern Italian cuisine, but no way is he its progenitor. No matter how innovative he may be he is still standing on the shoulders of dozens of other, better-known and more modest people. So in that sense it can never be a tenable claim.

That said, or rather ranted... I have no idea whether he's any good. But he's done an absolutely stellar job of predisposing me to assume otherwise.


Edited by balmagowry (log)

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That said, or rather ranted... I have no idea whether he's any good. But he's done an absolutely stellar job of predisposing me to assume otherwise.

ah--but if you get the opportunity to eat at valentino's in santa monica you should not pass it up. i don't know how much involvement he still has with the kitchen but it serves excellent, excellent food--perhaps the best upscale italian i've eaten in the u.s--and on par with some of the fine meals i ate on my trip to italy 5 years ago (don't ask me for names--i wasn't an egulleter then and didn't bother remembering details). haven't eaten at any of his other restaurants though.

what would "modern italian cuisine" be anyway--regardless of whose thigh it sprang from?

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I glanced at the site and immediately spotted a factual error. It is stated that Selvaggio created Primi. Not true! Primi existed for a few years until he PURCHASED it. Before his purchase I thoroughly enjoyed being a client on occasional Los Angeles visits. After his purchase I never returned.

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Perhaps the "father of modern Italian-American-Californian-LA Cuisine" would be more appropriate.

Valentino, like lots of restaurants that were impressive in the 80's seems worn and pretentious now. Valentino does not stand up well when compared with the best new Italian restaurants in the USA and forget Italy. Diners have become much more sophisticated about Italian cuisine in the last decades.

However, Selvaggio should be honored for his service to the Italian wine industry as he was the first to seriously offer a wide selection of Italy's best wines.

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Anyone who calls himself that is almost certain not to be and is inviting de-bunking.

Yes, there's vanity there, but there's also terrible arrogance.

I certainly agree with you... invites debunking and a very generous helping of scorn. A few years agao, my husband and I took a tour of the Jordan Winery in the Sonoma valley, where we were informed that Mr. Jordan had invented the concept of pairing food and wine. I suppose the silver lining is that we always have that to giggle about. :wink:

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I glanced at the site and immediately spotted a factual error. It is stated that Selvaggio created Primi. Not true! Primi existed for a few years until he PURCHASED it. Before his purchase I thoroughly enjoyed being a client on occasional Los Angeles visits. After his purchase I never returned.

uh, sorry, nope. he opened primi, though donato potto ran the door. as for the claim on the website, i think piero would probably be embarrassed that someone was saying that on his behalf. i think he can safely be described as "one of the founders of modern high-end italian restaurant cooking in america." and you can still get a pretty damned good meal there, particularly if you order the tasting menu.

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