Johnny Iuzzini Talks “A Taste of Capella”

Less than a month until our Food and Wine Festival at Capella Pedregal, and I am already getting chills when I think of all the culinary delights and fun we are going to have this July!  There will be something to satisfy the discerning palette of any food and wine lover – be it the “grill and smoker” style of cuisine as provided by Chef Kent Rathbun, the delicious steaks by Kevin Rathbun, the fine Mexican dining with contemporary touch by Capella Pedregal’s Marco Bustamante, or some of the ingenious desserts by Chef Johnny Iuzzini.

Chef Johnny Iuzzini gave me a glimpse on his food and activities at the upcoming Food & Wine Festival, and I am already counting down the days to be able to taste some of his tasty creations.

Hi Johnny, I am very pleased you are joining us at the Food & Wine Festival at Capella Pedregal. Can you tell me what can the festival’s guests expect from the event?
I am very excited to have been invited and I am planning on doing a cool modern pastry demonstration as well as making some super tasty desserts for two other events within the festival.  I think the guests will get to try a bunch of amazing food from some really talented chefs as well as hang out with us and talk food, drink and life!

To which part of the event are you looking forward the most?
I have never been to Cabo so I am excited to check out the local restaurants as well as meet some local chefs to learn more about the culture and flavors of the region.

How would you describe your cuisine?
I am a modern American pastry chef with a strong foundation in French pastry.  I like to make desserts that are not very sweet and often use vegetables.

Where and how do you get inspiration when creating new dishes?
I am a hands-on kind of guy.  When I am working on a new dish I usually focus on one ingredient and then build from there with other ingredients that compliment as well as contrast with the original ingredient.  I am always looking to integrate lots of texture as well.

What is your favorite ingredient to cook with? Do you use any Mexican spices or ingredients in your day-to-day cooking?
I really love using really ripe fruit in my desserts.  That said, I am also a serious chocolate guy.  I am always looking for new ingredients that I am not familiar with and try to use them in my cuisine.  I like using chipotle, chili peppers and jicama.

Do you like Mexican food? If yes, what is your favorite dish?
I love Mexican food.  I am a texture guy so I like dishes that have crispy shells with a really delicious cooked me, fresh vegetables.  I have a small thresh hold for heat so I stay away from the super spicy stuff.

Do you prepare any Mexican influenced dishes?
I always have some version of a flan, also I like making a different version of “tres leches” cake, probably my favorite Mexican dessert.

Have you been to Mexico before?
This will be my first time to Cabo San Lucas, I have been to Cozumel, Cancun and a couple other spots.  I have heard so much about Cabo and the pictures look so beautiful, I can’t wait to be there.  I am a scuba diver so I am going to try and get a few dives in.

Thank you to Chef Johnny Iuzzini for taking the time to answer my questions!

P.S. If you’d like to learn more about our upcoming Food & Wine Festival, you can get more information and make reservations here: http://www.capellahotels.com/cabosanlucas/food-and-wine-festival-,dining_viewItem_43-en.html  Hope to see you there!

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