Testimonials • 28.02.2020

Vinny talks about his training in CAST Alimenti

“I couldn’t be more satisfied by the opportunities my decision to attend CAST has brought me.”

Going into this internship I was expecting to absorb loads of useful skills, and how to incorporate those techniques and types of cuisine into my everyday life at my family restaurant for years to come. I hoped to gain the knowledge to be able to bring our menu back from American-Italian to the classics and authentic Italian dishes that would make my grandmother proud and our customers happy. I wanted to expand on our values of using handmade ingredients, and scratch techniques to create quick but still quality items for our menu. Another major goal of mine was to bring back some ideas of how to modernize and organize our small kitchen to be more efficient with the limited space we have to make for a more stress free work environment. I had no idea how much of this I would be able to accomplish at the end of my education and experience here.

I learned that keeping the ingredients traditional and simple is not only more efficient in a busy kitchen but also gives customers the chance to experience quality, authentic Italian food right in our town of Kettering, Ohio. The internship gave me the chance to experiment with everything I learned and create easy-to-make and delicious dishes that our customers raved about. For example: I created a version of Amatricana with imported guanciale, homemade rigatoni, and freshly grated parmesan. I also made a risotto dish with the parmesan risotto recipe I learned from Chef Maffioli, and incorporated fresh summer vegetables topped with an asparagus cream. We prepped part of this dish and then cooked the rest to order, making the process more efficient and producing a ‘wow-factor’ dish. The specials that we normally run are wonderful but take time to make due to the number of ingredients that go into them. This dish was not only delicious for customers but simple and efficient to prepare to order.

While our goal is for our dishes to be easy to prepare in the kitchen on a busy Saturday, we don’t want to compromise quality while doing so. We have focused on reverting back to our roots and always provide a dish with homemade pasta. I have experimented on integrating this into the specials and even dishes that have been on our menu for decades. Locals loved our rigatoni, linguini and raviolis that I got to teach my little sister to make as well. Even though this process does take longer than just using boxed pasta, it is well worth it when your customers compliment the Chef and are excited to see something truly authentic and fresh on the menu. Boxed just isn’t the same experience as hand-rolled, and our customers deserve the best.

While working in the modern kitchens and facilities CAST provided I observed that the layout and functionality provided a lesser prep-time and a more stress free environment then I have experienced. This is a major factor that I had aimed to integrate when coming home, our kitchen is small and moving forward in my career my goal is to continue to grow in this area as a business. This makes for less mistakes and quicker ticket times, which makes the customers happy as well as our hard-working staff.

Reflecting on this whole experience I couldn’t be more satisfied by the opportunities my decision to attend CAST has brought me and my family’s restaurant. Not only did I make life-long friendships and expand on my knowledge from growing up in this environment, but I also learned that persevering and putting in the hard work to grow as a human being, business owner and Chef was absolutely worth it. I have seen growth in my kitchen, restaurant and myself that I had hoped for but not expected, and am proud to be able to carry on my family’s Abruzzese traditions through delicious, homemade, quality meals that other families can share for generations to come at Mamma DiSalvo’s.