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Chef Brings Taste of Chicago to Williamsport

Culinary aromas, direct from “The Windy City,” will soon waft through the kitchens at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Steven Chiappetti brings a taste of Chicago to Williamsport as the next featured restaurateur in the College’s popular Visiting Chef Series. The renowned Chicago chef will arrive at the College on Thursday, Oct. 8, to begin preparations for a Visiting Chef dinner set for the evening of Saturday, Oct. 10, in Le Jeune Chef Restaurant on the Penn College campus. He will work side-by-side with culinary students and faculty.

Chiappetti is the chef/operator of Rhapsody, the new restaurant at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s new Symphony Center. He is well-known as chef/proprietor of Mango Restaurant, which opened in October 1995 in Chicago’s River North area to rave reviews. Drawing on his vast experience, Chiappetti showcases his culinary versatility with a menu of contemporary American cuisine with European accents.

“My emphasis is on delicious dishes that mirror the diverse American table,” the chef said. The menu he has selected for his Penn College experience includes a salad of fresh tomato and cucumber with reduced balsamic and chive oils; tuna tartar with bread royale, black olive and tomato infusion; fresh mussel and white bean soup; Mediterranean fish soup, and Amish garlic chicken with red potatoes and lemon rosemary sauce. The evening will culminate with an apple tart with caramel sauce. Select wines will complement each course.

Seating is still available and can be obtained by contacting Nancy Schick at Penn College, (570) 320-8000.

Chiappetti’s passion for food began when he was a small boy growing up on Chicago’s South Side. He worked after school and on weekends at his family’s business, Chiappetti Lamb Packing, one of the best-known American lamb suppliers. The business, which has been in the family for three generations, continues to enjoy success today as the only company that remains in Chicago’s stockyard Pavilion. Through the family business, Chiappetti inevitably met some of the best chefs in the country.

“I met some amazing chefs who were passionate about what they did every day,” he commented. “They were true artists. I couldn’t help but be inspired to become a chef.” Chiappetti began his formal culinary training in Chicago at the former Crickets in the Tremont Hotel and at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel. He also traveled France’s coastal regions, working in small bistros.

“Traveling throughout France and visiting some of the world’s best restaurants, as well as tiny, charming bistros, sent my imagination running. I envisioned serving customers in my own French bistro just off the bustling streets of Chicago,” he said.

Chiappetti then added a dash of his Italian roots, working at Chicago’s famous Spiaggia restaurant. In 1995, he opened Costa D’oro, a modern 150-seat restaurant in Chicago. Chicago Magazine wrote, “Chiappetti’s dramatic northern Italian cooking oozes American flash and French flair.” Striving to bring a more American style to his cuisine, Chiappetti embarked on a new project Mango Restaurant that blends his experience in French, Italian and American cuisine. The charming, artistic restaurant is the realization of his dream to open a classic European bistro in his hometown of Chicago. Chiappetti has received many awards for Mango. When it opened, Chicago Magazine nominated it as one of the best new restaurants in 1995.

Most recently, he was nominated for the 1997 James Beard Rising Star Chef award. Also in 1997, he participated in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or culinary competition in Lyon, France, as the only U.S. representative. In 1997, he opened his second Chicago restaurant, Grapes, a Mediterranean cafe. Rhapsody is the third restaurant in his culinary repertoire.

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