Our new consulting and sales partner!

Our new consulting and sales partner!

NEW BUSINESS PARTNER ALERT! Cordova Food Design has partnered up with Giorgia & Gaby of Italian Trade Four Seasons to bring Artigiano del Gusto to the USA!

I promised to continue to update you on my most recent three-week trip to Italy, and one of the main reasons was to head to Brescia with Giorgia and Gaby for our meeting with Artigiano del Gusto: outstanding, Italian piatti pronti (“ready plates'“). Piatti pronti has been sweeping the nation (Italy, that is). If you’ve been to a seaside bar in the past few years and ordered a hot meal, chances are, you’ve tried one. But, I promise that the piatti pronti created by Artigiano del Gusto are a delectable surprise.

Most people think “ready meal” and are reminded of the American T.V. dinners from years ago. Erase the very thought! These meals are produced individually and by hand, seasoned to perfection, and provide high-end cryogenically frozen and then cooked options like risotto con amarone (a specific blend of red wine), paccheri with prawns, and many more. I’m especially excited about the dish pictured above, a classic seafood risotto: carnaroli rice with a robust mix of shell fish for a perfect balanced  flavor. The dish is creamy and al dente and tastes like it was made bespoke in a world class kitchen.

In Brescia, we met our new partners at Artigiano Del Gusto and in part to review the latest recipes as we get ready for FDA-approval. We do it all at Cordova Food Design! I’ll keep you posted on this exciting project and it’s USA debut this fall. Meanwhile, stay tuned for my next post about the progress at the Culinary Center in Trequanda, Tuscany that we’re creating!

Brescia in the evening. 2019.

Brescia in the evening. 2019.

One of the highlights of this latest exploratory visit to Italy was, of course, Vinitaly 2019. Teaser: The main reason for going was to find the right wine to pair with our client, Piatti Pronti Artigiano del Gusto, designed for wine baars, like Vino Volo or similar concepts, restaurants, airlines food service, catering, etc. But more on that in a future blog post!

Of course the wines, the experience were wonderful, but whenever you head to a big conference, exhibition or event, you immediately think of the hassle. But not at Vinitaly. Logistics from parking to onsite were smooth as Italian buffalo mozzarella, which made enjoying what the conference had to offer even easier.

It’s hard to capture my favorite aspects of this conference, and the products (from wine, to food, to EVOO) that I was able to sample, but below are some of my favorites. Hit me up if you want to hear more!

  • The aesthetics of the space; only Italians could figure out how to take the American “conference” concept and turn it into something so beautiful and so centered on food and wine. You really have to see it to believe it, so let’s meet up in 2020!

  • Wines. To be frank, I tried a lot, but in sips, I promise. Here were my favorites:

    • Castello di Montepo, specifically the Jacopo Biondi Santi. This is a red to beat all reds, especially at the price. If your local shop doesn’t carry it yet, make a few phone calls and they will.

    • In white, I was floored by the Casa di Terra Vermentino and Allegra. Vermentino doesn’t get as much love with all the fervor about Sauvignon Blanc, but it should. It pairs with everything, across any culture.

  • EVOO: The olive oil by Centonze was extraordinary. Order it by the case if you can. We dipped, we savored, you will, too.

Obligatory Selfie at #vinitaly2019

Obligatory Selfie at #vinitaly2019

Didn’t get to try it yet, but #Spinosi is making some great looking alt grain pastas! I will get some and report back.

Didn’t get to try it yet, but #Spinosi is making some great looking alt grain pastas! I will get some and report back.

If you’re going to call the way to #Verona from #Rome, you are happy to arrive at a posh event. Cheers to #Vinitaly2019!

If you’re going to call the way to #Verona from #Rome, you are happy to arrive at a posh event. Cheers to #Vinitaly2019!


Spring in Italy (2019)

Food, Family, Funding

I just got back to my home and family in the Pac NW (typical spring here - 50s and rainy!) after a whirlwind tour of Italy: From Rome to Tuscany to Verona and more! I’m constantly amazed by the innovation, while ever-grounded by the attention to detail in the gastro scene across Italy. Over the next month, I’ll be sharing detailed highlights and trends from that trip. The first part was spent reconnecting with Roman Easter Cuisine. With family, we explored Trastevere Ristorante Zi’Umberto which remains perhaps the best Roman Osteria in Rome. Pictured here is the menu. We also explored the world-famous haute Easter Chocolate Egg exposition at the Bompiani Pasticceria (some pics on my Instagram), the new central market at Stazione Termini, and more! Stay tuned here and on my LinkedIn for all the juicy details and pictures.
— Chef Stefano

global update: CHEf Stefano and business partners endeavor to re-create immersive italian vacations

Chef Stefano has partnered with a first-in-class international team of real estate investors, marketers, architects, local leaders and food and beverage experts to purchase and re-develop a Tuscan castle and residence. Kicking off this past summer, the project is slated to be completed by spring 2022. The new property will attract visitors from across Europe, the United States and the world. Castello Cacciaconti in Trequanda, Tuscany is a spectacular piece of Italian history, and Chef Stefano and the development team will spend the coming years completely revitalizing the structure, nearby residences and the surrounding property in order to create an immersive Italian experience for visitors.

Of the project, Chef Stefano says, “My role is to design and manage all the Food & Beverage operations: the new Culinary Institute of Trequanda, The Castle Restaurant, the Catering Operations of Novoli, The Olive and Wine Institute. I’m designing the food programs to parallel with the new on-site art and music institute. Lot's of work coming up!”

We’ll keep you posted on this project, and how you can make reservations in the coming years!

Chef Stefano works alongside partners to completely reimagine Castello Cacciaconti in Trequanda, Tuscany. January, 2019.

Chef Stefano works alongside partners to completely reimagine Castello Cacciaconti in Trequanda, Tuscany. January, 2019.


CHECK IT OUT: Chef Stefano Contributes to flavor & the menu’s 2019 trends

Full article here: https://www.getflavor.com/top-10-trends-2019/

He’s at it again: setting and identifying the top trends in the USA and beyond. Once again, Chef Stefano was asked to contribute to top food trends in Flavor & The Menu’s 2019, from flatbreads to rice reinvented to cool boozy and teetotaling beverages. Our clients love to be on trend, trend-setting and trend bucking!

At home in Seattle, January 2019.

At home in Seattle, January 2019.

Chef Stefano in the Kitchen at Bindi USA in New Jersey, one of Cordova Food Design’s top clients.

Chef Stefano in the Kitchen at Bindi USA in New Jersey, one of Cordova Food Design’s top clients.

CHECK IT OUT: Chef Stefano discusses the future of Italian food in the U.S. on Mark-Up.It!

Full article here: https://www.mark-up.it/cordova-litalia-e-il-futuro-dellalimentazione-collettiva/

“Il livello della cucina italiana proposta negli Stati Uniti, a partire da quanto avviene sulle due coste, ha raggiunto livelli straordinari. Gli stessi giovani chef americani hanno studiato e imparato la cucina italiana in Italia, catturandone l’essenza: l’amore, la conoscenza e il rispetto per gli ingredienti. In particolare per chi li produce. Il numero di ristoranti italiani che fanno stage per chef americani in Italia, in particolare a Roma, Venezia, Milano e Modena, è numeroso e aumenta sempre di più. Ora stiamo diventando grandi anche negli stage per produzioni artigianali/industriali che esistono, in grande, solo in Italia e Francia.”

Chef Stefano joins New York City’s first Gruppo Italiano at Casa Italiana, a new, original seminar series entitled, “Italian Table Talks” dealing with the Italian restaurant and hospitality industry, and how different issues affect the ardent cuisine enthusiasts (essentially the general public). (Feb. 27, 2018)


STEFANO CORDOVA is President of Cordova Food Design, a new consultancy for organizations looking to apply design thinking, innovation and cutting-edge health trends to their food services. From national catering chains to fast-casual restaurant groups to schools and school systems, Stefano believes well-designed meals fuel communities. Born in Rome, Italy, he brings a lifetime of experience in cuisine by design. From baking as a child to cooking in some of the finest restaurants in Europe and New York, to catering the largest sporting events in the world, to a decade of expertise in fast-casual dining globally, Stefano combines art with eating to create food by design.


Insights into the Indian mash-ups trend from our panel of experts

Insights into the Indian mash-ups trend from our panel of experts.

“Indian food is a full-on experience: the smells, the flavors, the richness, the color. It’s a beautiful cuisine, but may still be intimidating to those who are just getting to know it, hence the interest in culinary mash-ups.” — MINDY ARMSTRONG

“As we continue to see the evolution of the vessels in which food is served, from naan sandwiches to bowl builds, this cuisine has much to offer. I have seen dosas used in the same manner as crêpes, stuffed with fruit fillings, savory meats, or even used to make Indian tacos.” — CHRIS CASSON

“This opportunity not only brings new flavors to the menu, but it can potentially attract new customers, as it is very easy to work vegetarian offerings into Indian cuisine.” — RICK PEREZ

“Indian flavors are also moving into the beverage realm. There are many opportunities to include exotic flavor combinations in the yogurt-based lassi drink. Rose, cardamom, mango, guava or hibiscus are excellent flavors to infuse here. Cocktails based on lassi are also trending, such as using a yogurt liquor base shaken up with herbaceous gins and fresh fruits.” — KATHY CASEY

“We’re seeing more Indian burritos and bowls, as well as breakfast-fusion offerings, with Indian spices and seasonings paired with breakfast meats (and maple flavors) and eggs.” — STEFANO CORDOVA


Sorghum Trend Insights Insights into the Sorghum trend from our panel of experts

“Beyond just a staple in Southern meals (think biscuits with sorghum butter), sorghum has more than just the added bonus of gluten-free menu applications. It’s also gaining traction as an egg substitute for baked goods, and as a fermentation agent in gluten-free beer.” — STEFANO CORDOVA

“Season popped sorghum with salt and herbs for savory, or caramel and chocolate for sweet. It can make the base for a porridge, and sorghum syrup can be used as an alternative to maple syrup.” — KATIE SUTTON

“Sorghum’s gluten-free benefit plus versatile applications and forms (whole grain, puffed grain, flour and a honey-like sweetener) gives it the potential for a home run.” — ROB CORLISS

“The appeal of sorghum is fueled by continued exploration of ancient grains, and making deliberate choices to select foods that have some sort of a health halo or benefit. In the case of sorghum, the benefits are a good source of protein and its gluten-free profile.” — MEREDITH DACA

Out and About 10/9

Innovation Lunch at Northeastern U - Seattle

It was great to sit down with such a distinguished group of Innovators: former colleagues from Starbucks and new work partners from NASA, Amazon, GE, Prudential, Microsoft to name few.

Everyone presented their approach to Innovation. I presented Cordova Food Design's approach to revolutuionizing school lunches, applying designing thinking to food manufacturing and food growth and nutrition based on global models of excellence. I challenged the group to think about co-developing a food distribution system that brings together health, nutrition and flavor, local options and considers the experience of eating - from schools to work to homes. We're all about "design" - just like our name suggests! We were invited to continue to participate in a new innovation advisory group. We can't pass up opportunities to network for the greater good.

- Stefano, Founder/CEO, Cordova Food Design