This profile is part of ongoing series of post leading up to the dinner the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce South Central and the Italian general consul of Houston are presenting at Terra restaurant in Eataly on June 3. The event was made possible thanks in part to support from the Prosciutto di Parma Consortium, the Pecorino Toscano Consortium, the Bocale winery, and Vecchio Amaro del Capo.
Back in the late 1980s, the American culinary landscape was still dotted by classic Italian-American restaurants that featured mostly southern Italian recipes passed down by two generations of Italians who had immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1800s and early decades of the 20th century.
But that all began to change when Italian-born restaurateurs like Adelmo Banchetti (above, image via his restaurant’s Facebook) began opening restaurants that featured contemporary and traditional Italian cuisine imported directly from the motherland. It’s incredible to think about it now but when Adelmo opened his now legendary Adelmo’s in Dallas in 1989, he was among a small but tight group of pioneering restaurateurs who were convinced that American diners would embrace authentic Italian cuisine that was representative of what chefs were doing in Italy at the time.
And it turned out that he was right. Today, more than three decades later, Adelmo’s is one of the city’s top Italian culinary destinations. And it’s also home to one of the state’s most ambitious and celebrated all-Italian wine programs. It represents yet another way in which he reshaped Italian food in Texas for generations to come.
Chef Luciano Salvadore didn’t get to Texas until the 21st century. But he has been equally instrumental in introducing diners in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area to the authentic flavors of contemporary and traditional Italian cuisine. Like Adelmo, he was among the first in Texas to begin working nearly exclusively with genuine Italian food products imported from Italy.
For many years in Texas, not only were products like mozzarella di bufala and Prosciutto di Parma not widely available in the state. But there were also few practitioners who knew how to use them correctly in the kitchen. At his Calabrese restaurant in Southlake (northern Dallas), he focuses on classic Italian cooking prepared with real Italian food products. Over the course of two decades working here, he has become a pioneer of Italian cuisine and a leading advocate for the use of Italian products in fine dining. It’s just one of the reasons in which he has helped to reshape the culinary landscape in the Lone Star state.
Although they are not cooking for our June 3 event, both Adelmo and Luciano will be attending the dinner. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be joined by these two culinary stars of the Texas food scene.