Follow That Chef – Linda Civitello!

Good things come in small packages; the taste of fresh blackberries, sugar snap peas straight off the vine, Hershey’s kisses and Chef Linda Civitello! This tiny, unassuming woman is a powerhouse of food knowledge and has one wicked sense of humor.

We met Chef Civitello at the Santa Monica Farmers Market. We’ve learned (having been to one or two of these tours now) that every Chef is different. Chef Civitello was no exception. She shook everyone’s hand and asked us our names when we arrived. From that point on, she addressed everyone by name. She remembered every person, every name, every time. We were quite impressed! This is nothing compared to what she knows about the history of food.

She’s very animated when she talks! You can tell food and people are her passion!

She introduced us to this beautiful vegetable…they are from the same family as the artichoke, but look like spiky, bushy, celery.

If you don’t know, they are Cardoons. See how BIG they are?

Chef Civitello showed us how to strip them down and dice them up for a Frittata.

These vegetables are new to me and they taste just like artichoke hearts! Chef Civitello taught us the history of artichokes as she blanched, then sautéed the cardoons. She also added onions, artichoke hearts,and asparagus.

She added eggs and we talked more about the history of food in Italy! My FFF Marie is Italian and Chef Linda brought back many family memories with her discussion!

After the eggs set, since there wasn’t a plate to flip the frittatas, Chef Civitello finished them in the oven. YUM!

We topped the frittata with this amazing artisan smoked cheddar cheese from Rosewood Hill Farm.

A little bit goes a long way with this fabulous cheese. It was so good, after the demo, we went back to the farmers market and bought some! Here is how the frittata turned out…

It was another great morning “Following That Chef” around the market! I learned a lot about the history of food, artichokes and now, we have a new vegetable to add to our wheelhouse! If you get a chance, check out Chef Linda Civitello and her book “Cuisine and Culture, a History of Food and People!”

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