Proust Questionnaire with Tony Mantuano

Here we go, Round Two of our culinary version of the classic Proust Questionnaire! This time we sit down with award-winning Chicago-based chef Tony Mantuano. Fun Fact: did you know that Spiaggia (where Tony is both chef and partner) is the only four-star Italian restaurant in Chicago? Don’t worry, if Chicago isn’t on your travel agenda in the near future, this master of Italian cuisine will be sharing his secrets at the Festival later this month during his The Art of Italian Pasta demo on Saturday, April 28 at 2:00PM.

What is your idea of bliss? A house overlooking the Adriatic Sea in Molise, Italy.


What is the quality you most like in a meal? Soul food – someone who is cooking from the heart.


What is the quality you most like in a wine? A wine that you taste the place where it came from.


Which words or phrases do you most overuse in the kitchen? “If you have another speed, now would be the time to use it.”


What do you consider the most overrated ingredient? Cilantro


What is your state of mind when cooking? Relaxed


Who are your favorite chefs? In no particular order: Nadia Santini, Jonathan Waxman, Susan Feniger, Carmen Gonzalez, John Hogan, Takashi Yagihashi, Alain Ducasse, Paul Kahan, Sarah Grueneberg.


What is your favorite dish? Linguine con Vongole


Which culinary talent would you most like to have? Ice carving…


What is your most treasured kitchen tool? A wooden spoon

If you’d like to learn from the pasta master himself, don’t forget to head over to his Festival demo — The Art of Italian Pasta — on Saturday, April 28 at 2:00PM. He’ll also be throwing his hat in the ring at Saturday night’s Rock Your Taco Celebrity Chef Showdown at Republic Square Park.