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How Cesare Vangeli, an Italian Dancer, Eats in America

9:00 AM EDT on May 25, 2023

Cesare Vangeli, an Italian dancer who lives in New York City, and founder of the Foodance Festival NYC.

Cesare Vangeli is an Italian tap dancer, actor, director, and choreographer of Calabrian descent. He lived in Rome for 30 years, moving there as soon as he finished his adolescent studies. In Italy, he has worked in theater, TV and cinema. His TAP TIP SHOW has been on stage for 23 years in the most important Italian theaters. Cesare founded the school LIM (Laboratory Italian Musical) in Rome, and many of his students today are performers in large productions. He relocated to New York in 2019 and, most recently, created the Foodance Festival NYC which combines dance, theater and Italian cuisine.

What was your first impression of Italian food when you moved to America?

For an Italian who has always had a passion for cooking, food was the only sore point after arriving in America. How can you eat a Fettuccine Alfredo with the addition of heavy cream? 

We’re you surprised by any of the foods, Italian or not, you discovered in America?

I was always surprised by the presentation of food in America. They almost always look appetizing, but many times the taste is not so good.

On a scale of one to 10, how do you rate Italian food in America?

Don’t ask an Italian to evaluate the food in the beautiful country of America! Must I do it? OK: Six.

Are there any Italian products that you wish you could readily get here that you can't?

Now in America, we can get everything, exported from Italy. The problem is the high cost. A Caciocavallo cheese that you can buy in Italy for 10 Euro, here you pay $40!

What is your favorite Italian dish to make at home? 

La signora pasta! In all its shapes, colors, flavors and simplicity. The secret of Italian cuisine lies in simplicity.

Are there any places in NYC that you like to go out to eat Italian?

Living in midtown Manhattan, I am lucky enough to eat a good pizza near home at Don Antonio. The pizza is delicious and all the staff are friendly.

Any place you haven’t tried yet but want to go?

Some of my friends have spoken well of Lucciola on the Upper West Side. I’d like to go see for myself.

What's your overall favorite non-Italian food in America?

My replacement food  for Italian is definitely Indian. Spicy sauces remind me of Calabria.

The next time you go back to Italy, where's the first place you're going to go eat?

Surely, after just landing in Rome, I go to eat the fantastic Ravioloni Ricotta and Burrata with tomato sauce from my friend Brando Giorgi, an actor who, like me, has a passion for cooking. Together with his wife, Daniela Battizzocco, he opened a restaurant, Salotto Stadlin, in the San Giovanni area. It is cozy and has delicious food. The chef is a young Italian of promise.

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