BRAVO! Cucina Italiana Honors Des Moines Chef as Top Culinary Winner in Fourth Annual Competition Finals

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Favorite Italian restaurant company spotlights core values and chef culture at highly anticipated event with more than 40 chefs competing

Chef Jason Kapela's "Porchetta Saltimbocca" is winning dish at fourth annual chef competition

This is a tradition rooted in excellence. The key values we want our BRAVO! chefs to exhibit are passion, responsibility, creativity, guest focus and excellence.

BRAVO! Cucina Italiana, a BRAVO|BRIO Restaurant Group concept, is pleased to announce BRAVO! Des Moines Executive Chef, Jason Kapela, of BRAVO! Cucina Italiana Jordan Creek as the winner of the 2010 Culinary Competition. Nine expert judges, including Cesare Casadei of Joseph’s Gourmet Pizza and Bryan Koster of Barilla America, assembled at BRAVO! corporate kitchens in Columbus to taste, grade and judge the dishes of six regional BRAVO! chef finalists from Deerfield and Mentor, Ohio; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Knoxville, Tennessee; Metairie, Louisiana; and Des Moines,Iowa, who competed for the title.

The yearly competition urges all BRAVO! executive chefs to participate and revolves around BRAVO!’s culinary mission to combine high quality ingredients in all dishes. It encourages chefs to create food with reverence and ensure the best possible flavor experience for guests. The regional finalists cooked and described dishes to judges and onlookers with finesse and expertise, but it was Jason Kapela’s presentation of Porchetta Saltimbocca that was voted as the ultimate favorite.

“This is a tradition rooted in excellence,” adds Corporate Chef Matt Harding. “The key values we want our BRAVO! chefs to exhibit are passion, responsibility, creativity, guest focus and excellence. The annual competition fosters all of those traits and enhances the personal and professional growth of our culinary team.”

Kapela’s Porchetta Saltimbocca combines Heritage Berkshire Pork wrapped around Prosciutto di Parma and sage and is served with spiced carrot coins and asparagus. Other dishes in the competition included Mozzarella Arrotalata Crostini Con Prosciutto Cotto and Mozzarella di Bufala, Veal Saltimbocca, Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp Salad and Stuffed Plum Pomodori.

“The annual competition is a challenging event and also a gathering of creative BRAVO! chefs. I know I had some incredible competition,” adds Jason Kapela. “I am honored to receive the award and look forward to the prize of traveling to Italy as part of the company’s education excursion. I am also hoping my dish will be featured on a BRAVO! menu— that would be the ultimate reward.”

The annual BRAVO! competition is open to all BRAVO! Executive Chefs. All entries were judged on flavor and texture, creativity, plating and presentation, marketing appeal, ease of execution, chef presentation and compatibility with the existing menu and utilization of ingredients.

For additional information on the news that is the subject of this release (or for additional photos or video), contact Kate McAndrews or visit

BRAVO! Cucina Italiana is a casual, white-tablecloth restaurant offering classic Italian food amongst the shadows of Roman ruins. The subtitle “Cucina Italiana” means Italian kitchen, in which all cooking is done in full view of the guest, creating the energy of a live theater. BRAVO’s popular entrees include grilled steaks, chops, and made-to-order pastas and house specialties, similar to an authentic ‘ristorante’ in Italy. BRAVO! is part of Columbus-based BRAVOIBRIO Restaurant Group. Founded in 1992, BRAVOIBRIO Restaurant Group currently operates more than 80 restaurants including BRAVO! Cucina Italiana, BRIO Tuscan Grille and Bon Vie Bistro. Please visit the Web site, for a list of locations, or to follow the restaurant on twitter or facebook.


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