By Holley Montoya
Ambiance and fine dining were at its best for the Italian Wine
Dinner at the Restaurant at Kellogg Ranch with wine maker Lucio
Gomiero and wine expert Darrell Corti as the featured guests on
The soft glow of candles and the music of Italy created a
genuine Italian atmosphere.
Dr. Bob Small, professor of the popular wines and spirits class
on campus, knows Corti and Gomiero personally and decided to invite
them to Cal Poly Pomona.
Gomiero is owner of Italian wineries Vignalta and La Fiorita. He
also owns Vignalta Olive Oil.
A bottle of his signature olive oil was placed at each table for
The olives used in his oil are grown in a particular part of
Italy where the environment provides the most flavor.
Corti is a world-renowned food and wine expert from the Corti
Brothers Winery in Sacramento. He gave a speech about radicchio, a
leafy vegetable that most of the menu was centered around.
He also explained which wines compliment the flavor of this
vegetable and why he chose one wine over another.
The six-course meal included salad, pasta with mussels, lamb,
risotto, a selection of cheeses, and a lavender panna cotta for
dessert. Each dish was paired accordingly with either white or red
wine. Gomiero and Corti selected these wines especially for the
The attendees came from many different places and most of them
have been dining at the RKR for many years.
“There’s a following for these special occasion dinners,” said
Randi Kirshbaum, director of development at the Collins School of
Hospitality. “Some people have been attending them for 25
Special events, such as this, are typically held once a
Regular customers receive informational brochures on upcoming
events. However, these dinners are not always open to the
“We come to support Cal Poly and enjoy the really good food,”
said regular patron Vito Francesco.
He and his wife Carol have attended these events before. “Good
food, good wine, and companionship,” said Francesco. “What more
could you ask for?”
Dr. Ben Dewald provided a wealth of information on the subjects
of food, wine and the hospitality industries for this event.
Dewald, a professor at the Collins School, is also a world
He was born and raised in Holland and has traveled the world.
Many of the places Dewald has lived in, have provided him a worldly
knowledge and a unique accent.
“It felt like I was eating with family. Nothing felt out of
place,” said Dewald.
“These are wonderful events,” said Dr. Mon Yee, a professor of
soil science in the College of Agriculture. “I love the food and
the wine and I always meet lots of interesting people. Being in
Agriculture, needless to say, I love to eat.”
The Collins School is holding another sold-out dinner on Feb. 10
with a Valentine’s Day theme.
Holley Montoya can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com
or by phone at (909) 869-3744.
Dinner Has Italian Feel
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