Savoring every bite at the Beverly Hilton hotel
Host to the Golden Globes, the Grammy Awards and the Oscar Nominees Luncheon every year, the iconic Beverly Hilton, in Beverly Hills, CA, opened in 1954 and still retains the same old-style Hollywood glamour today.
The poolside bar, Trader Vic’s, is where you may have seen Marilyn Monroe lounging around the biggest heated pool in town. In the Stardust Penthouse, a top-floor hideaway, Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack held impromptu performances for good friends, and L’Escoffier, the restaurant at the time, was the first to not publish prices–it was that expensive.
Executive Chef Alberico Nunziata now heads up the hotel’s culinary team. Nunziata grew up cooking alongside his mother and grandmother in a small village in southern Italy, and, after moving to the U.S. in 2012, made winning appearances on the Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay and Cutthroat Kitchen. We spoke with Chef about his Italian influence and passion for fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
What do you see as your culinary mission at the Beverly Hilton?
The Beverly Hilton is an iconic hotel and when, nine months ago, I got the opportunity to work here I was very honored. What I always do is to study the history, and find my inspiration in the memories. The Beverly Hilton is all about glamour and “eleganza.” I really believe that simplicity and harmony is elegance. Every day I apply this to my creations.
Why do you like working with farmers?
I grew up on a farm and for me, respect for the ingredients is a basic. In L.A., we are lucky to have a lot of farms. I really love fresh ingredients and always start from scratch. [The farm we work with] customizes our selection of greens and this makes us feel very connected with our supplier.
How does your Italian background mesh with California cuisine?
I’m from South Italy between Sorrento and Pompei. If you visit this area, you will see a lot of sun and happy people enjoying their lives between the beach and the city. I have been very lucky to grow up there and my cooking is all about the Mediterranean diet and light food.
The food scene is moving in a direction that’s very familiar to me. I feel that people are looking for healthy, light food that totally matches modern Italian food.
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