NEW CANAAN.Conn. – Silvia Baldini, founder of the New Canaan-based culinary group Strawberry and Sage , is the first woman chef in Connecticut to bring home a victory on the Food Network's "Chopped." And how sweet it is.
After enduring April Fool's Day pranks, a mystery basket of duplicitous ingredients and a grueling 12 hours of competition against younger chefs from the hot culinary scenes in Charleston, S.C., and Portland, Ore., Chef Baldini impressed the judges with her unusual dessert: Sweet canederli.
What is canederli? Think bread dumplings, a regional specialty of Northeast Italy where they are served as a first course or dessert. Considered part of "cucina povera," they are made of simple, inexpensive ingredients, including stale bread moistened with milk or cheese bound with eggs and a small amount of flour.
This tasty treat exemplifies Chef Baldini’s signature “chic and simple comfort” cuisine, a style rooted in making beautiful food to share with loved ones.
The victory is extremely important to Baldini, who left a successful career in advertising to become a chef.
"Hopefully this win is a small step toward women in food and giving us the recognition we deserve,” she said. “I have to admit, it feels great to win against three much younger, accomplished, hipster chefs.”
Baldini plans to use her $10,000 in winnings to create an educational food program that teaches people to cook and share food based on her philosophy that we enjoy food more when we are well-versed in its origins, culinary history, and traditions.
You can find her canederli recipe along with other information at www.silviabaldini.com/blog/ .
Watch the winning episode when it airs again on April 9 at 8 p.m. on the Food Network.
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