Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Italian Cultural Center Presents Mark Leslie: Beyond the Pasta

The IAHF Italian Cultural Center on 4th Street is hosting a series of culinary programs this spring and summer. The first one features Mark Leslie, which is promoting his new book "Beyond the Pasta." Tomorrow, he'll be speaking about his experiences and will offer a tasting of his cooking based on age-old family recipes along with a wine pairing. To see the full list of culinary events at the Italian Cultural Center, have a look at the press release below.

Mark Leslie: Beyond the Pasta

Thursday, April 14, 7:30-9pm

IAHF Italian Cultural Center
425 N. Fourth Street, San Jose, CA 95112
Free parking onsite

$15 IAHF members; $18 non-members
(or go to and search for "IAHF")



(San Jose, CA) March 22, 2011 – This April, San Jose Italian American Heritage Society (IAHFSJ) initiates an exciting new series of culinary programs curated by Massimo Chisessi to be held at the Italian Cultural Center near downtown San Jose. Starting with four initial evening programs, April–July 2011, these evening programs, including lectures, demonstrations, and actual cooking experiences, are open to IAHF members and the general public. Tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling the IAHF office at 408.293.7122.

Beginning the series on Thursday April 14 is Mark Leslie, author of the cookbook/memoir “Beyond the Pasta: Recipes, Language & Life with an Italian Family.” In 2005 Leslie left his job as a theatrical producer and went on a journey that changed his life forever. He lived with an Italian family for a year, completely immersing himself in the culture. Each day, the family’s Nonna, (meaning “grandmother”) showed him how to prepare age-old Italian recipes while her daughter taught him colloquial Italian. In this very special evening, Leslie chats about the recipes and experiences he shared with this kind-hearted and often dramatic family, and their uniquely “Italian” way of looking at the world. There will be a small tasting of his cooking, paired with an appropriate wine.

In a two-evening series on Thursdays May 5 and 12, Viola Buitoni, a noted chef and expert on the history of Italian food, will present the historical and healthful aspects of the Mediterranean diet and discuss the principle elements of the Italian larder now available in California. Buitoni, a member of Italy’s famed pasta-making family, is the mother of a six year-old and knows first hand how to cook meals that are quick, healthy, delicious and Italian. She’ll illustrate the many tasty variations that can be inspired by these ingredients. Each evening, you will have the opportunity to taste one of her creations, and you’ll bring home her list of pantry items for future reference.

On Thurday June 9 Massimo Chisessi will teach a one-night course on how to produce Limoncello that’s easy, fun and addictively tasty. Participants will learn Massimo’s personal “secret” recipe, gain resources for the basic materials and begin production on their very own bottle of one of Italy’s favorite drinks. They’ll also go home with one of Chisessi’s liquores in a decorative bottle, perfect for gift-giving or a special evening at home.

Rounding out the initial series on Thursday July 14 It’s one of Italy’s most iconic foods. But did you know that this ubiquitous ingredient is not even native to the Mediterranean? In this panel discussion, you’ll learn about the history and mythology of the tomato. We’ll discuss the selection and cultivation of heirloom varieties that flourish in our microclimates, traditional and innovative preservation techniques and IAHF members will relate their memories of how immigrant parents and grandparents taught them to grow and prepare this delicious fruit. We’ll end the evening with a tasting of 10-12 types of heirloom tomatoes to illustrate the versatility of one of our favorite foods.


All events are held at the IAHF Italian Cultural Center, 425 N. Fourth Street, San Jose, CA 95112.

Mark Leslie: Beyond the Pasta
Thursday, April 14, 7:30-9pm
$15 members; $18 non-members
Tickets URL:

The Italian Pantry in California

2 sessions:
Thursday, May 5, 7:30–9pm
Thursday, May 12, 7:30–9pm
$24 members, $30 non-members
Tickets URL:

Thursday, June 9, 7:30–9pm
$15 members; $18 non-members
Tickets URL:

Thursday, July 14, 7:30–9pm
$15 members; $18 non-members
Tickets URL:

1 comment:

  1. hmmm... maybe the italian cultural center should move to "little italy."