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Top Ethnic Cuisine Ambassadors 2017

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Server Oswaldo Lara at Osteria Bigoli, the catalyst for this article

(Gerry Furth-Sides) An snappy salute to our 2017  “Food ambassadors,” the ” bridge builders” who not only represent the best ethnic cuisine experiences but who cordially and enthusiastically entice, encourage and welcome us to enjoy new ethnic cuisine by way of an introduction and information to us and their guests over and over (and over) again.

“Ambassador” is defined as “a diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as representative in residence.”  One of the first outstanding and legendary ambassadors of Italian food in Los Angeles is Piero Selvaggio.  He has taken such care to have only the finest, authentic ingredients in the dishes at his restaurant Valentino (and at my favorite, Primi) at all times, importing them when he could not find them in the states.

Neapolitan Chef Andrea Barbato at Domingo’s Deli in Encino, who with grace and wit, spreads the word of the “Monzu,” the honorable title represents a court chef of Naples when it was a kingdom.  In culinary school Andrea’s teacher was Chef Antonio Tubelli, still considered “last chefs of the Monzu,” who both passes on the recipes of this time and also “presents them in a more modern accent.”  Chef Andrea beams, “oh my God, I fell in love with this guy and what he was doing.”  

We have fallen in love with Chef Andrea, and with his exquisite food.  Noted Italian food historian Linda Civitello wrote that his meatballs “are the  best I’ve ever tasted.  I would have to excuse myself ahead of time from judging his and others.”

Manager Cinzia is not only the ambassador from Domingo’s Italian Deli but for the Italian way of hospitality.  The products are of the highest quality but Cinzia is the one who enhances it all and who, as we wrote, ” made us feel very special.    She makes sure that the smell of warm bread is the first thing you notice when you walk in the door.  Cinzia is the last sight you remember when you leave. http://localfoodeater.com/historic-domingos-deli-sports-new-style-encino/

At Osteria Bigoli, Oswaldo Lara handled the entire dining room effortless, seamlessly — explaining the Italian cuisine and accommodating individual preferences with joy. He is the catalyst for this article. (http://localfoodeater.com/history-making-chef-server-osteria-bigoli/) 


Ekaterina Leziak sought us out at a Georgian wine tasting to “show us” how local Russian restaurants have evolved into entire evenings of very high energy and very lavish eating, dancing and drinking.  When she heard me joke that my Russian friends were too ashamed to take me to a 90’s Russian restaurant, (true for the time) she proved that authentic high-end Russian dining is very  much alive and thriving with one of our most exciting and authentic experiences of the year at Premier Restauranthttp://localfoodeater.com/premier-restaurant-bar-makes-old-traditions-new-russia/

At Market City Cafe chef-owners, Chipper Pastron and Sal have been translating the authentic recipes of Sal’s family into consistent, appealing fare for a quarter of a century.  They have also experienced bringing authentic food from Italian – Roman square pizza, the top Italian charcuterie, cheeses and fresh made pasta to Pasadena and it was a “no go” replaced by Jakes Burgers.

New Market City Caffe Holiday Menu Celebrates A Quarter Century








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Gerry Furth-Sides

Gerry Furth-Sides

Content Editor/Columnist

Photo-journalist Gerry Furth-Sides has been covering the ethnic and American culinary scene in California since it first came into prominence 25 years ago.