Above: Butternut squash cappellacci tossed in butter and sautéed sage and served over a generous slice of prosciutto, a classic dish from Parma at Margherita Aloi’s Il Palio in Shelton, Connecticut.
Anyone who lived and worked in the New York City food scene in the late 1990s remembers her groundbreaking work at the Manhattan restaurant Le Madri.
Margherita Aloi, born to a family of Piedmontese winemakers, was part of the new wave of Italian cuisine that took shape in the second half of the decade and the next 10 years that followed.
Her food was fantastic (we speak from personal experience) and it represented the then newfound celebration of truly authentic regional Italian gastronomy. It was a time when most Italian restaurants in New York and America were either “northern” or “southern,” even though those designations were essentially meaningless. For those who knew her cooking then, Margherita was widely considered one of the pioneers of the “new” Italian cooking.
But Margherita was also one of the first women in America to emerge as a celebrity chef in an industry where men had dominated the field. Today, the most popular Italian chef in New York is a woman. Back then, women chefs — let along executive chefs like Margherita — were few and far between. Margherita was among the first to break that glass ceiling. And it made her cooking all the more refreshing and compelling.
We couldn’t be more proud that Sansonina Evaluna is currently being served at her Shelton, Connecticut restaurant Il Palio, a dining destination known as much for its ambiance (it’s located in an impressive stone house on a beautiful property) as for its celebration of authentic Italian foodways.
Chef Margherita, chapeau bas!
Image via the Il Palio Facebook.