Food as part of life

Cooking with Italian flair - and a little Italian ambience - was served up at Douglas High School's Culinary Arts class Friday as demonstrated by Valter Montanari, executive chef for Antoci's Italian Restaurant at Genoa Lakes Golf Club & Resort.

Open and animated, Montanari readily admits to being passionate about his profession, and the kids. As he cooked, he encouraged them to spend their fast food money on some quality groceries and take the time to sit down with a few friends for a good meal.

"When I was coming here, I saw a girl talking on her cell phone eating a hamburger. And she was driving," he said. "I want this new generation to understand that food is an important part of life. Have a good meal with your friends. Sit, and enjoy."

Like most chefs, he made it look easy. A little butter, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, and whipping cream were sauteed. Add a little heavy cream and let simmer until it thickens.

Montanari said fats dissipate as the sauce simmers. There may have been a few skeptics in the crowd concerning that theory, but there was no skepticism when it came to the taste.

"Awesome," said Douglas High School senior Trevor Freitas without hesitation.

The meal at Douglas High School Friday started with a salad, complete with Montanari's Caesar dressing made specially for the occasion. The ravioli was gone in minutes.

Originally from the Bologna region of Italy, Montanari said he comes from a family famous for their culinary arts. He emigrated from Italy in 1995 to take a job as executive chef at Tiffany's in Las Vegas and Boulder City.

He met Mario and Diane Antoci, owners of the Genoa Lakes Golf Course, in 2001 and they persuaded him to come to Northern Nevada.

"I've been at Antoci's since September of 2001 and I'm proud to tell people this real Italian style," Montanari said. "No outside influences."

Good Italian food offers choices, because the food is distinctly different in the three regions that make up the country - north, central and south. Southern Italian food tends to be spicier, with more garlic and tomatoes, while northern Italian dishes are lighter, Montanari said.

At Antoci's, the name of the region where each dish originates is on the plate, Montanari said.

"That way, people will understand the difference between each region," he said.

n Susie Vasquez can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 211.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment