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ANGELO CAPOZI IS TEMECULA'S OWN IRON CHEF
Thursday, April 28th, 2005
Issue 17, Volume 9.
Angelo Capozi has been cooking all his life. He knows what pressure can be like in a busy kitchen but he has the confidence to keep his cool and turn out only the most delicious and award-winning meals. That is why he won "Iron Chef America." Capozi first taped for "Iron Chef America" two years ago. His secret ingredient was pickles, something he says he was definitely not expecting. Unfortunately, the show was never aired. So, Capozi has been asked to compete once again on the program. His competition is tentatively scheduled to be aired in November.
In order to be asked to compete on "Iron Chef America," chefs need signature recipes and a certain amount of time spent in the kitchen and restaurant experience, as well as a formal nomination. Capozi qualifies in all areas. After graduating from the University of South Dakota with a degree in cultural arts and restaurant management, Capozi became the youngest executive chef ever for the Happy Chef Restaurant, a chain primarily in the Midwest. Since then, Capozi has gained experience by becoming executive chef of Berkley’s and a few other smaller gourmet restaurants. He also worked for Chef One, a catering company for movie sets.
Capozi has more than just experience, he has extraordinary talent. A long list of awards follows his name; not only has he won California Chef of the Year two years in a row, several of his signature recipes have grown famous for their taste as well as their recognition. His smoked chili has won Best Chili of the Year by the Chili Association, and his Atomic Carrots won vegetable of the year in California. "It’s cool, they actually glow," Capozi says, taking delight in his own creations.
Capozi has even taken his talents to the page, writing a weekly column for the LA Times a few years ago, offering tips and recipes for easy gourmet meals for busy house moms and dads. His writing was well received, as they pertained to everyone, whatever their skill level in the kitchen.
"My philosophy is taking comfort foods to the next level. I take normal food but put a gourmet twist to it," explains Capozi. His greatest passion in cooking is in smoking foods. Capozi has experienced everything from restaurant chains to catering and is now getting back to smaller restaurants, which he loves best. Capozi just began as executive chef at Stakks, a new and already widely popular barbeque restaurant in Temecula. "I wanted to get back into that and have fun. Seventy-five percent of the food here is all my recipes. Nothing comes from a box; it’s all fresh." And being married with four children has granted Capozi the ability to satisfy all tastes. "My wife is a vegetarian," he says, "so I make lots of stuff for her, like a smoked veggie burger which only I do." His only real request is that there be "no crybabies and no restrictions. I like people who want to eat."
Stakks is located at 41493 Margarita Road in Temecula and is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Chef recommendations include the smoked burger, pulled pork sandwich, brisket and chili.
As far as the Iron Chef goes, Capozi claims not to be the least bit nervous. "I don’t know who I’ll pick [to compete against] but I’ll stick with my roots and smoked foods. In the kitchen, there are very few people who do as well as I do." Look for Capozi on "Iron Chef America" in November.
He offers one of his recipes for Valley News readers to try.
*20-Minute Gourmet Dinner
By Angelo Capozi
Pork Tenderloin with Port Wine Reduction
Glazed Garlic Green Beans
Rosemary Mashed Potatoes
Cinnamon Apple Dumplings
We will be preparing all four courses at one time.
2 lbs pork tenderloin (depending on family size)
2 lbs fresh green beans (or equal amount to pork)
1 bottle port wine
4 large potatoes
4 Granny Smith apples
¾ cup sugar, to be divided up later
¼ cup butter
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
¼ cup sour cream
Salt and pepper
Defrost pork. Pour half the bottle of port wine into a shallow frying pan. Rub salt and pepper (white pepper if available) into the pork and put into the wine. Cover and turn on over a flame on the stove.
Boil water in two 2-quart pans. Wash potatoes and microwave for 15 minutes.
Destem apples and put in one of the 2-quart pans. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
If the frying pan with the pork is oven-safe, put in the oven. If the pan is not, once the wine comes to a boil, transfer to a safe pan and put in the oven.
Blanch the green beans by quickly putting into the other 2-quart pan of boiling water and pulling them out again quickly. Transfer to oven-safe dish. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar on top of the beans. Add 4 pats of butter to the top and 1 tbsp. garlic. Cover and set aside.
Take apples out and put directly into an oven-safe pan, suitable size for four apples. Take ¼ cup of the boiling water and set aside. Pour ½ cup sugar on top, dividing equally among the four apples. Add 1 tbsp. cinnamon on each apple. Add the ¼ cup of boiling water.
Put tenderloin in the oven and set the time for 15 minutes. When the 15 minute timer goes off, put the beans and apples in the oven. Take potatoes out and put in a small bowl. Add ¼ cup butter, ¼ cup sour cream, and 1 tbsp. garlic. Smash up and keep in the bowl for serving.
5 minutes after that is the 20-minute mark. Turn off oven and pull out the tenderloin and the beans but leave the apples in the oven.
Serve with a salad, if desired. Slice the tenderloin and leave in the pan.
20 minutes more and the apples will be almost dissipated. Serve by themselves or with ice cream.
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