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Q and A with Georgia Pellegrini

Georgia Pellegrini Collage

Modern pioneer and chef Georgia Pellegrini knows her way around the woods – and the kitchen. Knowing the source of her food is an integral part of her culinary style. Georgia’s story is an uncommon one. After a bit of soul searching, she decided to leave the cubicle world behind and enrolled in culinary school (French Culinary Institute). She worked at farm-to-table restaurants in the U.S. (Gramercy Tavern and Blue Hill at Stone Barns) and France (La Chassagnette) driving heavy farm equipment and harvesting both meat and plants for dinner. Now, she has three books under her belt (Food Heroes, Girl Hunter, and most recently, Modern Pioneering), and is a well-respected chef and lifestyle guru. Georgia leads the charge on “modern pioneering” and connecting with the sources of your food. Recently, Riceland Foods had a chance to sit down with Georgia to discuss her favorite rice dish, why using U.S. grown Riceland rice is important to her and everything in between.

R: Why do you like to cook with rice?

G: Rice is nutritious and gluten-free so you can serve it to any guest. Rice blends withthe ingredients and flavors of the dish you are preparing, so it’s very versatile.

R: As a field-to-table chef, wild game is always on your list of ingredients. Why do you prefer rice as a companion?

G: Rice is a wonderful companion – from venison to duck. I prefer rice because of its  versatility. Really, it’s not only a companion to my meals. Rice can be the star of a dish or the sidekick.

R: Do you have a favorite rice dish (if so, what is it and why?)?

G: I love risotto and sweet rice dishes, like rice pudding. At home, you may be surprised to learn I don’t always cook elaborate meals for myself. Rice is my go-to for an easy, delicious meal. I love brown rice on its own, simply with butter or soy sauce.

R: Why did you choose to work with Riceland products?

G: I prefer Riceland because it’s a food company that can pinpoint the source of its product.  I really like knowing the source of my food, whether I harvest it myself or purchase it.  Riceland’s farmersown the company, grow the rice, and feed it to their own families. I have personally met some of these farmers, and they are passionate about growing rice in a safe, sustainable way. 

Georgia Pellegrini Behind the Scenes at the Riceland Video Shoot

R: As a professional chef, you have used many rice products from around the world.  How do you find Riceland products perform against them? 

G: The quality of Riceland products is outstanding. The flavor and texture of Ricelandrice stands out, andall of their products are nutritious and  budget friendly. You really get a lot of value out of a recipe when you use Riceland products. 

Georgia Pellegrini at the Austin Food and Wine Festival with Riceland Products

R: Why did you choose the recipes you developed for our video series?

G: Rice is such a big part of our heritage. There are a variety of rice dishes that resonate on different levels for different people. My Riceland recipes highlight the versatility of rice,from side dishes to appetizers to main meals in context with my heritage. Two of my favorite rice dishes are Risotto and Rice Pudding. I have loved them since childhood. They are economical, satisfying, and nutritious.

Riceland Rice Bran Oil at Georgia Pellegrini's booth at the Austin Food and Wine Festival

R: I see you chose to fry the rice balls with fontina cheese in Rice Bran Oil. Why do you prefer Rice Bran Oil?

G: Rice Bran Oil is extracted from the outer layer of bran that is removed in the milling process at Riceland's facility in Stuttgart, Arkansas. Not only is it important to me to know the source of my food, but also Rice Bran Oil has specific properties that make it perfect for frying. Rice Bran Oil has a high smoking point, so it fries quickly preventing the food from absorbing the oil, like it does with some other oil products.   As a result, your dish has a clean flavor and the oil doesn’t dominate the actual ingredients.

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Here at Riceland, we believe in U.S. grown rice and connecting with the source of our food. Our family farmers pay careful attention to their crop, and as a result our product is perfect for the budget-conscious cook who wants consistentsuperior quality. We are thrilled that Georgia agrees! Stay tuned for more recipes, thoughts, and tips curated by Georgia Pellegrini here on the Riceland blog or visit Riceland.com for more info. Read more about Georgia and buy her new book, Modern Pioneering, at GeorgiaPellegrini.com.