Newport Restaurant Group Highlighted its Amazing Women Chefs for a Wine Dinner

The four-course International Women's Day dinner featured a team of women chefs from Waterman Grille, Avvio, the Boat House, Bar 'Cino and La Vecina paired with wines from women winemakers.
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Mariana Gonzalez-Trasvina, Marissa Lo, Jennifer Backman and Kat Caine. Photos courtesy of Newport Restaurant Group.

A new tradition started last week on International Women’s Day, and we hope it becomes an annual event. Newport Restaurant Group tapped into its amazing women chefs from its various restaurants, and put together a dream team for its first ever International Women’s Day Wine Dinner at Avvio in Cranston’s Garden City.

The four-course wine dinner was executed by the women executive chefs from Newport Restaurant Group, including Jennifer Backman from Providence’s Waterman Grille; Kat Caine of Cranston’s Avvio; Marissa Lo from the Boat House in Tiverton, and Mariana Gonzalez-Trasvina from Bar ‘Cino and La Vecina, both located in Newport. The wine pairings were researched and selected by Stephanie Steed, the wine director at 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar and Grille, who highlighted female winemakers.

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The menu tapped into local produce and proteins, of course. The first course by Jennifer Backman, was a pastrami-spiced beet carpaccio with thinly sliced beets arranged in a flower pattern that looked like a painting on a plate. It included dollops of whipped chevre accented by pumpernickel crisps, pickled mustard seeds, herbs and blossoms. The wine pairing was a lambrusco di Sorbara from Emilia-Romagna.

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Beet carpaccio.

The second course was a burrata agnolotti by Kat Kaine, and it involved little pillows of pasta bursting with burrata and blanketed in a rich English pea and herb pesto sprinkled with pistachios and saba and drizzled with a meyer lemon oil. This dish was paired with Marco Felluga ‘Just Molamatta’ Collio from Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

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The third course was created by Marissa Lo, and just like at the Boat House, she focused on local seafood. Seared scallops served as the focal point on the plate, abstractly designed around a base of rutabaga celeriac puree accented by purple cauliflower caponata and upright shards of crisp and salty pancetta. A beautiful Azienda Vinicola ‘Biscaris’ Frapppato Terre Siciliane from Sicily was poured for guests.

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Mariana Gonzales-Trasvina’s dessert served as the crescendo to an incredible meal; she created an olive oil cake dotted with toasted white chocolate ganache and passionfruit gelee, and topped with hazelnut brittle and candied lemon. Finally, a sweet Centorri moscato di pavia from Lombardy was served as the dessert wine.

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Olive oil cake with passionfruit gelee.

It was amazing to watch all of these women chefs work together to create a memorable meal. Women chefs are still a rarity in the the hospitality industry, but it’s great to see Newport Restaurant Group embracing woman power and recognizing the talent they have in their kitchens in such an empowering way. You can experience the cuisine from the women chefs any time at the various NRG restaurant locations throughout the state.

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A portion of the proceeds from the dinner tickets was also donated to Sojourner House, a Providence-based agency that promotes healthy relationships by providing culturally sensitive support, advocacy, housing, and education for victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.



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