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May's "Evening With a Star" Chef Marco Pellegrini, executive chef and co-owner of Osteria Umbra, and Nancy Vallarella. (Photo by Ed Shin)

By Nancy Vallarella

Non-essential travel to Italy from the United States is a reality. Limited quarantine-free flights requiring testing twice before departure and once upon arrival may even become less restrictive in the weeks to come.

Attendees bitten by the travel bug to Italy were satiated on Tuesday evening, May 18, at Smithtown Historical Society’s Evening with a Star presentation.

Transported to Italia surrounded by farm pastures and historic structures, participants listened to Smithtown’s newest import, Chef Marco Pellegrini, executive chef and co-owner of Osteria Umbra.

Chef Pellegrini shared his culinary journey from Umbria to Smithtown. Chef de Cuisine at Osteria Umbra, Sabrina Vallorini attended in support of her co-worker and husband.

The 30-minute interview emphasized authentic Italian cuisine and culture, the trials and tribulations of opening a hospitality business during Covid, and becoming Smithtown’s newest fine dining establishment.

An interactive lightning round game of Is it Italian? proceeded an audience question and answer period. Light refreshments were furnished by Uncle Giuseppe’s of Smithtown and The Wine Guy.

Foodies, historians, and folks longing to travel applauded this Evening with a Star presentation.

“It felt like we were a little closer to being under the Tuscan sun for 60 sixty minutes,” said Ken Donato, president of the Smithtown Historical Society.

Avid and novice gardeners will want to mark their calendar for the next Evening with a Star program on June 24 featuring Gary Duff, of Gary Duff Designs.

Registration is through Eventbrite under An Evening with a Star – June.

For more information, contact the Smithtown Historical Society at 631-265-6768.

Guests enjoying the night with Chef Marco Pellegrini. (Photo by Ed Shin)
Guests enjoying the night with Chef Marco Pellegrini. (Photo by Ed Shin)
Guests enjoying the night with Chef Marco Pellegrini. (Photo by Ed Shin)
Interaction with the audience playing “Is it Italian.” (Photo by Ed Shin)
June’s “Evening With a Star” Gary Duff, Chef Marco Pellegrini, and July’s “Evening With a Star” Gary DuffScott Poser. (Photo by Ed Shin)
Wayne Mirabella, Karen Mirabella, and Chef Marco Pellegrini. (Photo by Ed Shin)
Myra Naseem and Nancy Vallarella (Photo by Ed Shin)
Smithtown Historical Society Board President, Kenneth Donato. (Photo by Ed Shin)
Pat Grzetic, Richard Grzetic, and Smithtown Historical Society Board President, Kenneth Donato. (Photo by Ed Shin)
Priya Lasky, executive director of the Smithtown Historical Society, Chef Marco Pellegrini, and Chef Sabrina Vallorini. (Photo by Ed Shin)
Christine Klages Fitzgerald, founder of the Smithtown Children’s Foundation, Chef Marco Pellegrini, and Nancy Vallarella. (Photo by Ed Shin)
Chef Marco Pellegrini and Chef Sabrina Vallorini. (Photo by Ed Shin)

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