Chef Marcellino to Cook at James Beard House
October 14, 2017

Creating a historic Italian culinary tour for his “Heritage Dinner”

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (August 6, 2017)—Chef Marcellino Verzino of Marcellino Ristorante has been selected to cook at the James Beard House on Saturday, October 14. This honor comes as a result of a competitive selection process.

This will be Chef Marcellino’s second time cooking at the Beard House. He previously participated on May 28, 2008, when he was the Executive Chef/Co-Owner at Amarone Ristorante in New York City.

The mission of the James Beard Foundation is to celebrate, nurture and preserve America’s culinary heritage and future. In order to be invited to cook at the Beard House, chefs must be recommended. Next, the Chef Selection Committee through a competitive selection process chooses them. Some of the criteria include national or regional reputation, excellence in a particular discipline and known use of high quality ingredients.

Born into the “farm to table” life before it even had a name, Chef Marcellino will take you on a historic culinary tour of his childhood growing up in the Campania region of Italy. The choices of cuisine that he has chosen for The Heritage Dinner are his personal recipes that come from his soul. This is the first time Chef Marcellino will be sharing his very personal heritage and recipes gathered from touching memories from family life on the farm. During the dinner he will share stories about his eclectic family and ways to prepare food that are almost more relevant today than they were back during his young life in Reino. He is proud to present the richness and diversity of regional Italian food and wine.

“It is an honor and privilege to cook at the most important food venue in the United States. I look forward to making this particular menu, as it is full of recipes inspired from my hometown,” states Chef Marcellino.

Dinner at the Beard House will begin with a reception at 7:00 p.m. in the greenhouse or the garden. Aperitifs and hors d’oeuvre are served during this time. Guests are seated for dinner at 7:45 p.m. and service begins at 8:00 p.m.

Chef Marcellino’s exceptional multi-course dinner is paired with regional wines from his long time friend Libero Rillo, third generation owner of the family’s vineyard, Fontanavecchia, with the exception of the dessert wine, Spumante Moscato, from the Vintner, Massaria Parisi Basilice. All wines are from the Campania region of Italy,

Tickets for the dinner may be purchased on the James Beard Foundation website.

To our friends, family and supporters, you are offered the membership dinner rate of $135pp. You can secure your reservations by clicking on the link below and using the Open-table function. In the space “Add a special request” type in the following words: code word/friend of chef SAFFRON, to access the member rate. They will need your credit card number to hold your reservation, but the charges are made day before the dinner.

For your convenience NYC flight, hotel and sightseeing arrangements may be arranged by our friend MariaLaura Boldini Creal at Fantastic Italia Travel –

602 996 4393 or

The Heritage Dinner

Insalata di Gamberetti e Ceci con Salvia
Baby shrimp and chickpea salad perfumed with fresh sage

Capesante con prosciutto
Deep-sea scallop wrapped with San Daniele Prosciutto sautéed in white wine, fresh sage and touch of tomato

Sfere di Polenta e funghi misti
Polenta spheres mantled with mixed mushrooms

Crosinti di Breseola e formaggio di capra
Crostini blanketed with Breseola and soft goat cheese


All paired with Falanghina Eroica, sparkling wine


Insalata Reinese (named after his hometown of Reino)
A hearty medley of winter vegetables and fruit that was kept fresh in the family’s “cantina,” (underground: cool storage). Potatoes, celery, parsley, vinegared peppers, cured black olives, orange bits with their rind all tossed with extra virgin olive oil and salt.

Paired with Taburo falanghina del sannio DOP


Paccatelli con Piccione
Chef’s handcrafted, toothsome pasta sautéed with humanely raised pigeon in a red sauce.

Paired with Aglianico del taburno Doc

Polenta con Salsiccia e funghi
Creamy polenta served with his homemade sausage and mixed mushrooms in a white sauce of extra virgin olive oil, white wine and a touch of sweet butter.

Paired with Aglianico vigne Cataratte (reserva)


Angello in Umido
Baby lamb chops sautéed in its own juices, potatoes, fresh garden herbs from Chef’s garden, red wine and touch of tomato, served with Saffron Risotto.

Paired with Orazio Benevento (reserva)


Pastiera di Riso
A “torta” of Arborio rice gently blended with fresh ricotta, hand harvested vanilla, aroma zest of orange and lemon, sugar and perfume of cinnamon, finished with crema allo Strega.

Paired with Spumante Moscato