Chef David Benstock of IL Ritorno to Cook at James Beard House

Co-owner and executive chef of IL Ritorno, David Benstock, revealed today that he has been invited to cook at the James Beard House in New York City. The Beard House is an extension of the James Beard Foundation (JBF), and only a handful of chefs from the Tampa Bay region have been invited to cook at the James Beard House over the past 30 years.

Benstock will host his dinner on July 18, 2017, where he and his team will prepare a five-course tasting menu with wine pairings. The dinner is an immersive experience for guests, who enter the James Beard House through the kitchen to meet the chef and his team before the evening begins. From that moment on, the Beard House will be live streaming from the kitchen the duration of the dinner.

“This isn’t just a career goal, this is a life goal,” said Benstock. “To be a part of the James Beard House legacy is an absolute honor, especially at this stage in my career.”

Chefs are invited to cook by the director of house programming based on but not limited to the following criteria, as outlined by the JBF website:

  • National or regional reputation, as evidenced by press and/or résumé
  • Known use of high-quality, seasonal and/or local ingredients
  • Demonstrated excellence in a particular discipline

“We are very much looking forward to welcoming Chef David Benstock to the Beard House, and sharing his bright, luscious, Italian-inflected cuisine with our guests,” said Director of House Programming, Izabela Wojcik. “Only a few chefs have cooked at the Beard House from that part of Florida, and it’s always a treat to shine a spotlight on a local gem.”

The James Beard dinner comes on the heels of more big news for the restaurant. Benstock recently announced that IL Ritorno would be expanding its space at 449 Central Avenue in downtown St. Pete, nearly doubling in size. The restaurant will be gaining two private dining areas and an open kitchen featuring a “Chef’s Bar,” where 8 guests can interact with the chef and his team, while also sampling some of his latest creations. IL Ritorno will also acquire a liquor license, and consequently create a separate bar menu to be paired with their cocktails.

The timing works out perfectly as IL Ritorno will close for the last two weeks of July to complete the buildout of the expanded space, and then open the new larger spot in August.

You can read our previous coverage on the new space here.

David told us about the James Beard opportunity and showed us the progress on the new space while we were there last night for the new menu tasting. Watch for details on that next week.

Sources: Hype Group & David Benstock
Photo Credit: Hype Group

Chef David Benstock of IL Ritorno to Cook at James Beard House
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Co-owner and executive chef of IL Ritorno, David Benstock, revealed today that he has been invited to cook at the James Beard House in New York City. The Beard House is an extension of the James Beard Foundation (JBF), and only a handful of chefs from the Tampa Bay region have been invited to cook at the James Beard House over the past 30 years.

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