Spiaggia chef talks Obamas on ‘Martha Stewart’

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Chef Tony Mantuano shared a recipe from Chicago’s Spiaggia restaurant on today’s “Martha Stewart Show,” but when host Martha Stewart began asking about his famous patrons — President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama — Mantuano became a bit tight-lipped.

As Mantuano and Stewart made the Italian dish, Ravioletto, which recipe is found in The Spiaggia Cookbook Eleganza, Stewart asked him about the Obamas’ favorite manu item. Mantuano’s only answer: “Pasta.”

But Mantuano refused to answer what wines the Obamas drank while dining at the restaurant, located at 980 N. Michigan Ave. He did say, however, that since the Obamas dined at Spiaggia on election night, he has received a number of requests from Italian winemakers to sell their wines to the restaurant so the Obamas might try them.

Stewart asked if someone was on hand to taste the meal before it was served to the Obamas, to which Mantuano explained that someone does watch carefully as the meal is prepared.

Also during the show, Mantuano briefly discussed the opening of his new restaurant in the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago. The 140-seat facility is scheduled to open in May 2009 in conjunction with the new Renzo Piano-designed building for the museum, according to the institute.

Mantuano told Stewart he may name the restaurant after the designer, but was still deciding.

As Stewart took one bite after another of the Ravioletto, she asked if the pasta-filled dish covered with brown butter would be on the menu of the new restaurant. Mantuano said it might.

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