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INTERVIEW: Chef Karen Akunowicz On "Perfecting The Italian Aperitivo Moment," Competing On "Top Chef," And More

Nicole Barylski

Chef Karen Akunowicz of Boston's Fox & the Knife. (Courtesy Photo)

Chef Karen Akunowicz of Boston's Fox & the Knife - which was named one of the best new restaurants of 2019 by Food & Wine - wants you to join her and Martini & Rossi's National Brand Ambassador Fabio Raffaelli on a culinary journey to the enchanting Tuscan countryside during "Perfecting the Italian Aperitivo Moment."

The complimentary, intimate virtual cooking and cocktail-making class will take place on Tuesday, March 30 at 5:00 p.m. The dish of the night will be Chef Akunowicz's Mozzarella in Carrozza with Curried Tomato Sauce, which will be paired with the Martini Fiero & Tonic.

We recently caught up with the Top Chef alumna and James Beard Award winner, who was dubbed one of the 21 Badass Women Changing the Food World by Marie Claire, about the delicious evening, Bravo hit, and more.

The evening's piece de resistance. (Courtesy Photo)

What can "Perfecting the Italian Aperitivo Moment" attendees expect?

KA: Not only will attendees learn a new skill, but they will come away with a greater understanding of the Aperitivo occasion. They will learn why more people are turning to low-abv options as we all continue to experiment with cocktailing and cooking at home. Lastly, expect a delicious cheesy dish and perfect cocktail pairing at the end of this class!

What makes Martini & Rossi an ideal pairing partner?

KA: I've been a big fan of vermouth ever since living and working in Italy, and I have been familiar with Martini & Rossi for years. With the launch of Martini & Rossi Fiero - which is centered around the aperitivo moment - I knew this partnership was a perfect fit. The refreshing citrus orange flavor from the new iteration pairs perfectly with the curried tomato sauce which I will be pairing with the mozzarella in carrozza.

Does one have to be a "top chef" to enjoy the class?

KA: Of course not! This experience is open to all kinds of chefs - from beginners to experts. Come one come all.

Speaking of, season 18 of the Bravo hit is debuting very soon. Reflecting back, what are some of your most memorable moments?

KA: I think restaurant wars are always iconic episodes, and they always stand out to me. For me, coming back from last chance kitchen in Top Chef: All Stars will always be one of my most memorable moments.

Any advice to future contestants?

KA: Stay true to yourself and your food. Be realistic about what you can achieve in the time limit, and then push it.

Martini & Rossi's National Brand Ambassador Fabio Raffaelli. (Courtesy Photo)

If you could host anyone at Fox & the Knife (in a non-pandemic world), who would it be and why - and what would you serve?

KA: At this point, I would love nothing more than to cook for my family. I haven't seen them since September 2020. I would make them everything on the menu and truly have a feast.

Have you ever been to the Hamptons?

KA: No, but I would love to!

To sign up for "Perfecting the Italian Aperitivo Moment," visit www.karenakunowicz.com.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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