K & L Media teamed up again with the great crew at Judd & Black for our Meet the Chef demonstration dinner on September 8. Chef Matthew Romeo from Lombardi’s Restaurant of Everett and Mill Creek prepared and presented a four-course Italian extravaganza. Whole Foods provided appetizers presented by Olivia Yates, their marketing and community relations representative. Yates brought caprese skewers (grape tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil drizzled in olive oil and balsamic vinegar), Valicoff peaches from Wapato, WA with whipped cream, and crostini with strawberry pepper jelly and Delice de Bourgogne Lincet. Stacy MacKelvie provided Castello Banfi wines of Tuscany artfully paired with each dish. Lombardi’s owner Diane Symms was also on-hand to present the dishes Chef Romeo prepared, and to talk about her experience in the restaurant industry.

Chef Romeo began the menu with seared ahi carpaccio, which was paired with Pinot Grigio San Angelo. The ahi was perfectly cooked, tender and flavorful. “Ahi is hard to come by,” Chef Romeo said. “There a crisis shortage.” He recommended that consumers only buy the brightest, pinkest ahi they can find, and to source it carefully. Lombardi’s uses only fresh products, and they cut all their own meat, chicken, and a lot of their fish. Chef Romeo talked about each ingredient, including the premium imported olive oil called Amazon that he uses for drizzling over dishes (but not for heating), and the gray salt he sprinkles over the dishes. For searing the ahi, he recommended flipping it back and forth to keep it tender and to prevent overcooking. He served the ahi on a bed of tender arugula.

The next course was an adaptation of fettuccine carbonara. Chef Romeo added roasted yellow peppers to the sauce to give it a sweet-piquant flavor. He recommended adding enough salt to pasta water to make it taste almost like sea water, and to add the salt right after the hard boil begins, not earlier. He also cautioned against overcooking the pasta, which he prepared to a perfect al dente for the guests. MacKelvie paired this lovely dish with a Chianti Classico from Castello Banfi. The main dish was a Piedmontese flat iron steak. This dish featured Kumato tomatoes, which is the patented name for a tomato called Olmeca that originated in Spain. Kumoato tomatoes are deep green shading into rich red, and are known for their unique slightly citrus tartness. Piedmontese steak is exceptionally lean and packed with flavor. Chef Romeo recommended purchasing from piedmontese.com. The steak was dense with flavor, and drizzled with Amazon olive oil. MacKelvie paired this dish with Belnero Rosso from Castello Banfi.

The dessert is Diane Symms’ Italian Eclairs. The honey marscapone semi freddo was a creamy, delicious filling for the dense, delicious pastries, which were served on a drizzle of chocolate. The Florus Moscadello di Montalcino, a very rich port, paired beautifully with the dessert.

Lombardi’s also hosts wine dinners, a VIP loyalty and rewards program, and many other special events. They are a mainstay in the area restaurant scene, and it was a pleasure to welcome them to our Meet The Chef series. For more information about their locations, events, and menu, see lombardis.com

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"Lombardi's is a mainstay in the area restaurant scene, and it was a pleasure to welcome them to our Meet The Chef series."