The New York Times by Ruth Reichl-
...This is Italian nuova cucina, the aristocratic cooking that is to the food of the trattoria as haute cuisine is to French bistro food. Fantino’s chef Gennaro Villella, first cooked at Rex in Los Angeles, where his delicate style was an instant hit. And no wonder: his antipasti are unlike anything else now being served in New York...His cooking depends on excellent ingredients and unusual combinations...The joy of these dishes is that each is dominate by the natural tastes of the food. This is a cuisine that depends on finesse and balance; one misstep and the entire dish falls apart. Mr. Villella’s touch is sure”.
Italian Wines & Spirits.
Dining all’italiana in the U.S.A. by Nancy Pawloski Mangan
“ -Simplicity is the foundation of my Italian cooking- Villella said recently. – to be a good Italian chef today, you have to have a vast knowledge of products and mehods. I select the finest freshest ingredients as the basis of my cooking.- Villella’s menu at the Fantino is the outgrowth of his experience with Italian regional cooking, although in style it is entirely his own, highly personal creation, He relies on special types of extra-virgin olive oils from Tuscany, Umbria, Liguria and lake Garda to bring our the intrinsic flavors of the ingredients. In keeping with his belief that the slightest touch of olive oil makes a dish complete, he has eliminated cream form his preparations and minimized use of butter. Villella’s cuisine is new in the sense that it is his own invention and rich in the sense that products of high quality that are correspondingly expensive are extensively employed, including lobster wild mushrooms, extra-virgin olive oil and truffles. He prepares a cuisine of a high level, one that is creative but with solid technical foundations and explicit references to gastronomic tradition..."
“ E che dire del Fantino, il ristorante italiano del “Ritz Carlton” di Central Park South in New York aperto lo scorso anno e affidato alle cure dello chef Gennaro Villella, che si e’ guadagnato le lodi di un critico del calibro di John Mariani, il quale ha dichiarato: “ Siamo al cospetto dell’alta cucina”. Qui vanno per la maggiore il “piccione in camicia di patate croccanti con salsa al brunello e timo”, oppure I “quadrucci di grano saraceno, scampi e tartufo di Norcia” e le “costolette di agnello in crosta di pecorino”. All’insegna di “crea chi conosce e chi non sa pasticcia”, come sostiene Gennaro Villella, che prima di approdare al fantino si era gia’ distinto al Rex di Los Angeles,….”
...Top wines from around the world and top chefs from around New York proved to be a good mix at the fifth annual wine auction and gala dinner of The American Institute of Wine & Food, held recently in the Big Apple. With Michael Broadbent, head of Christie’s wine department, at the gavel, the event raised money that will go to the AIWF’s Educational programs. Lower row, from left: Broadbent, California vintner Robert Mondavi, Debra Ponzek of Montrachet, Lindia Bastianich of Felidia, Daniel Boulud of Restaurant Daniel and Julia Child. Top row, from left: Michael Lomonaco of 21.’ Gennaro Villella of Fantino (Ritz Carlton) Todashi Ono of La Caravelle and Robert Weiner of Colors..."
Chocolatier Magazine- A Taste of the Good Life- 1994
“….And Fantino, a major miracle in the Ritz Carlton New York, serves the most delicate, pure and ethereal T-M I’ve ever tasted, Their secret (and successful) variation is polenta instead of lady fingers. So simple, so spectacular, so sue me, Marilyn.”
FOOD ARTS – The Magazine for Professional-
by Meryle Evans
"...Lilliputian Pastries make a grand and generous gesture at the end of a meal. Diners neither resist nor forget… Chef Charlie Trotter’s offers a “surprise dessert wave,” as his curtain call, and … at the recent “ Dinner of the Millennium: held at New York City’s Le Cirques, Pastry chef Jaques Torres’ grand finale was a “farandole of desserts- a dessert storm.”…Given the labor-intensive effort of producing these exquisite little miniatures, a number of chefs, among them pastry chefs Torres, Francois Payard (Daniel, NYC) and executive chef Erik Blauberg (American Renaissance, NYC) employ a full-time friandise maker in the kitchen. ….these days biscotti are ubiquitous on the friandise plate.
But Gennaro Villella ( Ritz Carloton NYC) goes beyond biscotti to offer an array of regional Italian cookies to every one who comes to the restaurant, “even if they just order a salad.” Villella reports: “They are healthier than the French versions because we use less butter, and they can be made ahead of time and kept in rolls in the refrigerator for a week to baked as needed.”….Experimenting with shapes also intrigues Michel Troisgros - of the family restaurant in Roanne, - France- who maintains, “you have to keep changing, break the routine. For the past two months,” he continues, “ I’ve been completely changing my petits fours; now I only do the dry ones, and I play with colors and texture, sort of like the sculptures of Tanguy….”
Esquire Magazine- CHEERS! The best new restaurants of 1994
by John Mariani
“ There is nothing predictable about chef Gennaro Villella’s cooking, however. Villella shows a prodigious talent for adapting but never compromising traditional Italian cuisine. He’ll take a humble rice tart, riddle in with black truffles, and set it in a warm fonduta of sweet gorgonzola. Ravioli are stuffed with capon and baby artichokes; lamb chops are roasted in a crust of pecorino and oregano; lobster is cooked in Barolo with lentils; and a praline-and-amaretto semifreddo is enhanced with the texture of white barley and the tang of orange peel. If you want to bet on the direction of Italy’s –Alta Cucina- for the decade, put your money on Fantino.”
New York Italia Magazine.
Cover page the Best Italian Chefs
Bon Appetit: The Best of Italy.
“Special collection” -March 1990-
"The Imaginative cuisine of Chef Villella Gennaro never fails to please"
Triangle Life Style Magazine
Cover page with Chef Villella Gennaro
Nations Restaurant News- FINE DINING-
The 1991 hall of fame award winners;
With Charlie Trotter’s, The Inn at Little Washington…Rex Il Ristorante.
…“ Today, executive chef Gennaro Villella’s degustazione menu might begin with a salad of sliced fennel and breaded sweetbreads, next a whole-wheat lasagna with quail, morel mushrooms and baby artichokes might be served, followed by a fish course of grilled Mediterranean Orata, basted in fragrant olive oil and accompanied by a sweet-pepper salmoriglio relish…”
Los Angeles Magazine.- Secrets of celebrity chefs Villella Gennaro
by Loreen Arbus & Norm Chandler Fox.
“ Throughout our travels across the globe, we have come upon certain restaurants that are truly phenomenon’s in their city, These are places that are unique and so far above the competition that they almost require a new definition….In Paris, we feel this way about Taillevant, which is a few steps above magnificent; in Buenos Aires we dub La Cabana as the carnivore’s heaven on Earth; and in Tokyo, we have a long-going love affair with Fukudaya where the classical Japanese Kaiseky cuisine reaches new heights. We had to do some serious thinking regarding our home city of Los Angeles because there really are some extraordinary and consistently super restaurants in Los Angeles. After much thought, we settled on Rex Il Ristorante, which we feel sets a new standard of luxury on the West Coast….What about the food? In a word the cuisine is magnificent, Here is where you will find “ alta cucina” of the highest order. The maestro in the kitchen is only 28 years old, but he has an incredible talent way beyond his years. …Gennaro has given us a super recipe that can be used as an appetizer for dinner or an entrée for a light lunch….-Warm salad of wild mushrooms, fava beans and quail…”
CRAIN’S New York Business – by Bob Lape-
…” The man who adorns these rich launch pads with exciting and satisfying food is chef Gennaro Villella, who often visits the dining room to charm and inform. A bright, personable 34, chef Villella has been cooking, teaching and consulting for 20 years. …
Meantime, chef Villella hews to a philosophy of food that is healthful, good tasting, prettily presented and original. All pastas are fresh…”
Chef Gennaro Villella
Awarded by the FIVE DIAMONDS
At the Ritz Carlton , New York.
Chef Gennaro Villella Consultant chef for the Opening of the Circo in Manhattan and Las Vegas.
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