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Meet Michael Schlow

Meet Michael Schlow

Eataly Magazine recently sat down with Michael Schlow, one of the most influential and respected chefs and restaurateurs in America today. Starting as a dishwasher at age 14, he worked his way up through the world’s best restaurants. Today, Chef Schlow is the owner and concept creator of award-winning restaurants spanning the country, which he oversees from his home base in Boston.

At Eataly Boston, Chef Schlow is introducing his characteristic culinary flair to Via Emilia, which has taken over our rotating-concept corner La Cucina. To curate the Emilia-Romagna-focused menu, the chef drew inspiration from his time in the northern Italian region, where he traveled, worked, and fell in love with the culture and cuisine.

EMILIA-ROMAGNA scenery region

Hi, Chef! Please tell us about your first trip to Emilia-Romagna.

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My very first trip to Emilia-Romagna was maybe 15 or so years ago. I'd visited many regions of Italy before, and I was eager to experience the area that was promised to be on a completely different level and life-altering. After my first bites of Tortellini en Brodo, Mortadella, Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiana Reggiano, and Tagliatelle Bolognese, I realized that it was of course correct, and that this trip would have an undeniable effect on me and my cooking.

The trip was one for the ages, and maybe one of the most gluttonous I've ever been on; after 10 days of eating in and around the region, this life-altering experience almost became life-ending as I seriously could not eat one more bite of lasagne, Cotechino, tigelle, or anolini. Just talking about this is making me full!

What region-specific culinary techniques did you learn when working in Emilia-Romagna?

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I'm not sure if there is one specific technique, but something I love about the cooking of Emilia-Romagna is that they do not run from nor are they apologetic in their use of rich, decadent ingredients. I am particularly fond of the luscious pastas that can be found in the region, especially when we are experiencing cooler weather. Nothing quite satisfies like lasagna or tagliatelle bolognese, and it's always a treat to have well made anolini with brown butter, sage, and Parmigiano Reggiano.

What continues to draw you to the cuisine?

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In a word: Mortadella! That, and pretty much everything else that is a staple in the region.

How did you translate the cuisine when developing the menu for your pop-up at Eataly? 

c

When I developed the menu for Via Emilia, I thought about the dishes from Emilia Romagna that I've in Boston before, ones that truly resonated and kept guests coming back. I made sure to not alter the recipes, instead opting to present them the way that I learned them. These dishes are classics for a reason and don't need my "creativity" to make them better.

You are known for your ability to capture different countries’ and cultures’ techniques – while maintaining your own culinary flair. What advice would you have for home cooks traveling to Italy – or your pop-up Eataly – and want to pick up tips to bring home to their own kitchen?

c

Italian food is beautiful, it's beloved, it's about simplicity and allowing the food to speak for itself in its most natural form. Each region of Italy brings different products and tastes and a great way to learn about them is through Eataly. Guests of Eataly are encouraged to learn, taste, sip, and explore, and the cooking school is a great place to get first hand tips from great chefs and cookbook authors.

The best piece of advice I could give to home cooks is to ask questions, read, experiment, and don't be afraid to try something new!

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Taste Michael Schlow's own dishes at Via Emilia, our limited-edition restaurant at Eataly Boston. Explore the menu and hours!

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