Chapel Hill, N.C. — For the first time in 23 years, Il Palio at the Siena Hotel is undergoing a renovation that will include a wall filled with wine bottles and new kitchen technology. But for executive chef Teddy Diggs, it's all about offering authentic Italian cuisine made from quality ingredients.
Diggs wants to diners to have the "rustic elegance" he experienced when dining in Italy. New open kitchen will let guests see, feel and smell what's being prepared. And those ingredients will be as authentic as possible to the dishes.
The focus is about sustainability. Diggs has built relationships with farmers, fishermen and others in the industry so he can get ingredients that are best for the dishes and the most fresh. If the wild mushrooms for a dish is from a tiny town in Italy, Diggs is going to get that ingredient. It's about the dish, the ingredients and staying true to the history of the cuisine. He prefers not to call it "farm to fork." Locally sourced and fresh, "that's how you are supposed to cook. That's the Italian way," he says.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, Diggs previously worked at Martha's Vineyard in Washington, D.C. His culinary career started at 15 years old when got a job making pizzas at a local pizzeria.
Il Palio will reopen on Sept. 10.
While we were there, Diggs shared his recipe for making Sweet Corn Gelato. Check out the video.