At the beginning of 2018, 573 Magazine presented Gabriel with its most Passionate Person of the Year Award. Well, Gabriel hasn’t let us down. Today he has some very new things we want to show you. Welcome to Gabriel’s new gig.
Gabriel’s passion for good food was ignited at a young age in the sensual Italian city of Palermo, Sicily. Ever since childhood, Gabriel has had a love for cooking.
“I was always the first to help my mother, Rita, and my father, Salvatore, in the kitchen after Sunday morning mass,” says Gabriel. “Growing up, my best moments were when my dad took me to discover different restaurants around Italy. He always wanted to find a better culinary adventure.”
As Gabriel grew older, he traveled and worked in kitchens all over Europe. He says he learned what does and doesn’t work from firsthand experience.
I was always the first to help my mother, Rita, and my father, Salvatore, in the kitchen after Sunday morning mass.
Experience of Italy in Cape Girardeau. Today, Gabriel brings his passion and love of food and cooking to Gabriel’s Food + Wine. It’s a unique experience like you’ve traveled to Italy without leaving Cape. It’s there that Gabriel and his team focus on traditional ingredients and dishes prepared in a way that is approachable and accessible even if you’re timid about trying new cuisine. The menu is straightforward and specific, to guide diners through the best of Italy Gabriel style.
“When we say, ‘It’s just like Italy,’ we mean it,” Gabriel says. “We worked hard to make the atmosphere as true to my childhood experience as we could, and I think that’s what makes us unique. We want dinner to feel like you’re in a small restaurant or a house in Italy – loud, a little chaotic, busy with rich smells everywhere – wine poured, people laughing, and good music.”
We worked hard to make the atmosphere as true to my childhood experience as we could, and I think that’s what makes us unique.
“We want you to taste the salt from the Mediterranean, the oils from Tuscany, and the grapes from the oldest vineyards,” Gabriel says. “It all comes together so you can feel Italy – not just taste it. That feeling, that experience is something only good food can do. Good food is like good music. It reaches a part of the soul only accessible by art.”
Gabriel loves seeing people enjoying his food. “Sometimes customers come in, and they’ve traveled the world. They know our ingredients, they know what we do, and of course they love it,” Gabriel said. “But when someone who is shy about a dish or isn’t sure they’ll like it falls in love with it, that’s magic. They become return customers. I see them learning how to eat, how to enjoy the food. They start to understand what goes into good food. They start to love trying new dishes.”
Gabriel Recommends. “I’m so excited for fall; we’re adding my mama’s meatball recipe for lunch,” Gabriel says. “We’re even calling them Mama Rita’s Meatballs. They’re a handcrafted mix of ground tenderloin and Italian sausage with organic spaghetti and San Marzano tomato sauce – the way she’s been making them for as long as I can remember.”
It all comes together so you can feel Italy – not just taste it.
For dinner, Gabriel recommends trying the handmade lobster ravioli, made with the freshest lobster and smothered in a rich lobster bisque sauce.
The Ingredients. “We use what we love,” said Gabriel. “If we don’t love it, we don’t use it. Most of it is just trial and error. Most of what we use and sell comes from Italy or we hand make it with products from Italy.”
Gabriel says what makes them unique is that from start to finish, everything they use is fresh, organic, and Italian. Most of the knowledge about the products, what to use, where to find it, is from firsthand experience traveling around Italy.
“If you pay attention, you learn a lot – which chefs use what, which regions prefer what,” Gabriel said. “I make sure to use products I know and trust from experience.”
The New Space
Now you can buy the ingredients used by the chefs in his restaurant at the new shop next door. Most of the products are from Italy and handmade, along with a few local products, and some cheeses from the UK.
“We opened Gabriel’s Gourmet to make the food even more accessible,” says Gabriel. “Everything is focused around providing the finest and most authentic products we can find.”
Classes and Events
In the new space, you’ll find cooking and mixology classes as well as a private event space for parties and celebratory dinners.
At the cooking classes, you can see how things are done at Gabriel’s and what Gabriel learned from his mama, Rita. You’ll prepare a full meal you make yourself. The pasta classes are the most popular and start with flour and eggs.
“It’s as simple as that. The classes feel like a big Italian family making dinner,” Gabriel says. “You come in, have some wine, put on an apron, and start from scratch. You end with a full meal you make yourself, leave with a full belly, a nice glow from the wine, and a few new skills.”
At private parties and events, you can partake in Gabriel’s party trick: the flaming cheese. “I take a full wheel of Parmigiano, hollow it out just a bit, pour grain alcohol into it, and light it on fire. Then I stir in the herbs, the pasta, mix it all, and top it with truffle oil and salt,” Gabriel says. “It never disappoints.”
At the cooking classes, you can see how things are done at Gabriel’s and what Gabriel learned from his mama, Rita.
Feel At Home at Gabriel’s. Gabriel’s aims to be open and welcoming. “We’re an open book,” Gabriel said. “Come in and just ask us! I’m almost always there in the thick of it with the kitchen. Ultimately, I just want people to come by and have a good time, try something new, learn about a new dish, taste wine you’re not sure about. We’re always happy to help explain the traditions and flavors of Italy. ”
To learn more, visit Gabriel’s new website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram, where you can learn about upcoming events and classes. “Keep us in mind for gift baskets, corporate team building with cooking and mixology classes, private meetings, bachelorette and holiday parties, and wedding rehearsal dinners,” said Gabriel.