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This whole story starts out as any great modern-day millennial story does. It starts with a DM.
It was a choppy, amateurish video at best. Taken POV style, similar to a dad haphazardly trying to figure out Instagram stories for the first time when I stumbled across it on my Discover page.
The content, my friends, was pure beauty.
Seared steaks ladled in a bath of buttery, thyme goodness. Perfectly portioned nests of homemade tagliatelle dropping into a boiling pot of salted water. Golden brown crisps of Chicken Parm sizzling in a pan. It was a saliva-inducing dive into the life of an incredible, seemingly 5-star chef and I needed to know MORE, so I slid the anonymous chef a DM.
“Hey. I need to eat whatever your cooking”
The person, in fact, was NOT a professional chef by trade, but, Adam Mignanelli, the VP of design for VICE, North America (yes, he sets the “lewk” for one of THE world’s largest media companies). On top of that, he’s also a curator of contemporary art for Ballast Projects and chef de cuisine at his catering startup, SIZZLE VISION.
At only 34, Adam seems to be holding it all together. This month, we’re collaborating with Adam to launch the first of a series of intimate dinners in Williamsburg’s newest photo studio, Mi Casa. The curated menu will feature a Friendsgiving menu created by Adam, where he and his brother will cook, prepare and host with a spirits menu curated by The Spirits Network. The series of dinners are meant to inspire others to take a step back, lighten up and have fun around having seriously elevated food, but casually while meeting and making new friends in what feels like…home.
“Welcome to my humble abode”.
Adam lets me into his studio apartment in Gramercy and it is everything I imagined it would be. If he were a character in a movie, he’d play the eccentric uncle who throws outlandish multi-course meals at his home while discussing art in so detailed a way that it’s clear he knows his shit and isn’t making things up. Throw in an endless supply of wine hidden in a treasure trove somewhere (most likely hidden by Taschen Artbooks), and the multitudes of art (framed and signed!!!) all over his home and you’ve got the makings of a hybrid Martha Stewart/Salvador Dali/Williamsburg-ish designer that is Adam.
All while being the most laid back person ever.
Along the rest of the apartment, a floor to ceiling wall is plastered with a deep green wallpaper (from The Royal Tenenbaums), “It’s called SAFARI, and was a huge trend back in the day. That’s all the zebras and arrows being thrown at them… Not the most politically correct, but I still love the design”, a Salvador Dali cookbook sits on the coffee table “It’s a rare one. Most people don’t know he was a chef, but it’s got a lot of weird interesting recipes in there”, and in the middle of all the fine art, a one-wheeled skateboard balancing concoction meant to stimulate balance, “I got it as a kid back in Rhode Island”. He stands rocking back and forth effortlessly on the contraption while pointing out all the art in his home.
“That one was really peculiar”, he points to a framed speckled art piece dotted with colors reminiscent of a heat map, “This artist John Knuth uses flies and he fed them colored sugar water and when they poop it out, they leave these tracks on the paper. This whole design was made entirely by flies. It’s kind of gross, but I mean…unbelievable, right?”
Perhaps the piece de resistance, however, is Adam’s kitchen. When I walk in, he’s already got a pot of homemade stock bubbling on the stove, with a pressure-cooked veal shank cooling on the cutting board. It falls right off the bone, and within minutes, Adam is searing it in his grandmother’s cast iron pan until it’s perfectly crisp. He throws it in a bowl with olive oil and some Parmigiano Reggiano and my tastebuds immediately shrink into the recesses of my mouth, asking me why the f*** I haven’t treated them to this ecstasy before. Oh and did I mention, Post Malone is playing in the background? He’s by far the artsiest, most cultured person I know, and yet, I don’t feel intimidated one bit.
“I’m a painter and designer. I get more likes and discussion around me frying a chicken cutlet than any painting I posted”
“Well, I came from a large Italian family. You know, I grew up cooking with my mom and my aunt and every Sunday we’d make these incredibly humongous meals. My parents weren’t really chefs, but they loved to cook. When I moved to NYC, I kind of missed it, and my brother eventually came as well and together we decided to start up the tradition again. And now – we do it every Sunday”
They’re multi-course, multi-hyphenate flavor explosions of intricate recipes and concoctions reminiscent of a madman, or reserved for a 5 star restaurant, but in this case, they’re just Sunday dinner.
The dishes are far from the amateur chef. They’re multi-course, multi-hyphenate flavor explosions of intricate recipes and concoctions reminiscent of a madman, or reserved for a 5-star restaurant, but in this case, they’re just Sunday dinner. For a full-time designer, empresario of an art curating company and now, a catering business, it’s difficult to understand where Adam finds the time to do it all, let alone, be good at it all.
Sizzle Vision is Adam’s way of sharing his love for design, food, and art in a way that makes it easier for people to understand, sans the pretentiousness, the nerves, all the BS. ” I learned doing art fairs and shows and watching viewers behavior that, people love museums and such, but they don’t know how to respond to the emotions when looking at or buying art. But food, it’s healing, it’s cultural, it’s literally necessary, and easy to evoke emotion in a comfortable way to others while exploring.”
Since then, his little IG entree into his life has grown his own line of dried salts (Moroccan lemon cured salt that he sat with for 6 months) and has gone on to host his own dinner parties. “Every year, we have a huge party for the holidays at our house, and we cook pasta for nearly 200 people. It’s insanity” and now, with the start of Sizzle Vision Dinners, he hopes to continue it here in NYC, one perfectly seasoned porchetta at a time.
The first dinner series takes place on November 7th, sign up for our email list HERE to get the next date.
This article was brought to you by our sponsors at The Spirits Network, a new content channel and subscription box company for the spirits enthusiast. You can sign up for $1 for the first month to sample using the code “ciaooo30”.