From Charleston to Rome: A gourmet exchange of culinary cultures

American-based chef Tim Morton recently arrived in Rome for the second part of an exquisite gourmet exchange between two cities of distinct culinary culture: Rome – the city of beloved sophisticated traditions, and Charleston – the city of elegant signature creations – two locations, both rooted in heritage, where food culture takes a unique cue from a mix of geography, terroir, and history.

Chef Tim Morton 

Morton, currently the Executive Chef at Emeline and The Ryder in Charleston, is a multi-talented chef who discovered his love of the kitchen when he was just 16 years old. His dedication and preparation in the culinary arts, paired with his keen sense and interest in the world of hospitality have guided him to a stellar career where he has had the opportunity to create all-encompassing experiences for his diners through thoughtfully executed menus in inviting locations, offering authentic and exquisite food in atmospheres that feel like home. 

A skilled chef accredited by the American Culinary Federation, he studied at the College of Coastal Georgia and then spent years perfecting his trade by studying under several notable chefs at various Forbes Five-Star hotels and restaurants. Originally from the state of Minnesota, his work led him to the kitchen of the famous Alinea restaurant in Chicago and then to the southeast of the United States where he honed his skills as executive sous chef at The Umstead Hotel and Spa in Raleigh, North Carolina, acquiring even more experience under the master of progressive American cuisine, Steven Green, and the renowned five-time James Beard Award semi-finalist Scott Crawford. 

A Respect for Ingredients

Now at the helm of Frannie & The Fox, a stylish restaurant located inside the Hotel Emeline, the accomplished chef known as a master of wood-fired cooking creates a seasonal menu of Italian sensibilities that brings together classic Italian flavors and cooking techniques with local ingredients from the South Carolina Lowcountry – a geographical and cultural region extending along the state’s coast boasting indigenous foods along with an abundance of products first brought to the area by African slaves. The result is a surprising yet familiar menu that leads diners on a unique culinary journey.

Tim Morton’s affinity with the foods of Italian cooking resides in his belief in choosing only those ingredients that are pure and simple, well-made and honest – products that haven’t been changed or modified and that honor techniques and traditions. For Morton, it is important to treat food with respect.

Frannie & The Fox Meets Ristorante Adelaide

In November of last year, as part of its global dinner series, Frannie & The Fox hosted an inspired gourmet exchange with Ristorante Adelaide in Rome – a location nestled inside the luxurious atmosphere of the five-star Hotel Vilòn, set away like a hidden gem in the heart of the city, part of a historic mid-sixteenth century villa annexed to the Palazzo Borghese. Named after the Borghese princess of the same name, the restaurant, led by Executive Chef Gabriele Muro, is known for its elegant and refined atmosphere and seasonal Mediterranean cuisine based on Roman classics served with a fresh twist. Like its American counterpart, Adelaide offers a cozy, stylish dining space with an outdoor patio perfect for enjoying al fresco dining.

Chef Gabriele Muro

For over five years, the restaurant has been brilliantly led by the mastery of Chef Gabriele Muro. Originally from the island of Procida, the young chef grew up surrounded by a family who deeply appreciated the food culture of the island. He graduated from Ippsar Vincenzo Telese and then accumulated several significant experiences in Italy and abroad, working and studying under the talent of chefs such as Pietro Leeman, Ramòn Freixa, and Philippe Chevrier. He later transferred to the Gambero Rosso Academy as a docent.

At Adelaide, he leads his brigade with a deep sense of teamwork in creating menus of harmonious dishes that are the result of technique, research, quality, and the flavors of his home in Procida. Muro’s approach is based on a gradual seasonality, respecting each ingredient to imagine dishes that are veritable representations of Italy’s most authentic flavors.

When Frannie Meets Adelaide

Partnering in Charleston last November, Tim Morton and Gabriele Muro brought their talents, heritages, and experiences together to create exclusive and intriguing menus – the result of an intertwining of culinary visions, traditions, cultures, local ingredients, and techniques. Penned the Italian Sensibilities Series, diners at Frannie & The Fox enjoyed Italian seafood, five-course meals of Roman classics with Lowcountry variations, Italian-inspired cocktails, and great wine, as well as a Thanksgiving dinner with a few key Italian additions. 

Now, the duo met up once again in Rome at Ristorante Adelaide. The series held from March 9th-12th featured the chefs’ second collaboration with Un Americano a Roma – an artfully interwoven seasonal menu of classic Italian cooking with new ensembles that were innovative yet familiar. 

The opening night saw Morton preparing creations, such as roasted oysters with Calabrian nduja butter, beef short ribs with creamed corn, braised vegetables and caramelized onions, and spicy pepper grilled cheese with brioche and tomato. Meanwhile, Muro brought out original dishes like roasted artichoke with almond milk and mint, steamed buns with smoked beef tartare, asparagus and ginger mayonnaise, and Bronte salted pistachio cream with mascarpone served with a lime Chantilly and berry coulis.

Hotel Emeline Frannie & The Fox

Hotel Vilòn Ristorante Adelaide

Article by Liana Bicchieri

From Charleston to Rome: A gourmet exchange of culinary cultures

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