orange County Restaurant Week
~ Primi ~
Organic yellow & red tomato, imported Italian mozzarella cheese and pesto sauce
Carpaccio con Arugula
Thinly sliced beef tenderloin,shaved parmigiano-reggiano and capers
Zuppa di Giorno
~ Secondi ~
Spaghetti al Buongustaio
Spaghetti with sautéed shrimp, organic tomato, arugula and garlic
Homemade foccacia with grilled flank steak, imported Italian mozzarella, tomatoes, lettuce and horseradish-dijon spread
Romaine lettuce, shaved parmigiano-reggiano, croutons, creamy anchovy dressing, and grilled chicken
~ Primi ~
Chilled Grilled Shrimp, feta cheese, endive, fennel, cucumber, lime vinaigrette
Polenta sautéed with wild mushrooms and fresh herbs
~ Secondi ~
Mare e Orto
Pappardelle with porcini mushrooms, shrimp, asparagus, with a cognac cream sauce
Grilled chicken breast, marinated with fresh herbs and lemon
Grilled Lamb Chops, vegetables, roasted potatoes and thyme butter
~ Dolci del Carello ~
Choice of Italian Pastries
Chef Ugo Allesina
Question: How long have you been a chef?
Answer: I began my career in the culinary arts in 1985 as a cook, responsible for creating appetizers and doing the daily meat prep at Hotel Orta in Orta San Giulio, Italy, then went on to cook at better known hotels in Italy, including the Italie & Hotel Suisse, a 4-star hotel in Stresa on beautiful Lake Maggiore, before becoming Chef at the Regina Palace Hotel, a 5-star hotel also in Stresa. I then assumed the great responsibility of preparing the pastas at the Lido Palace Hotel Baveno, another lakeside resort on Lake Maggiore.
Question: Who or what inspired you to become a chef?
Answer: I was born and raised in the region of Piemonte, Italy, and when I was a child, my parents wanted to be a priest! Of course, I’ve always been interested in food. My family has owned and operated a restaurant and bar in Italy, and growing up, there was a well-known culinary school in my hometown. So, I suppose I would be involved with food in some way.
Question: How long have you been at this restaurant?
Answer: In 1990, I was brought to the United States by the owners of Ristorante Mezzaluna, a well-known high-end Italian restaurant in Manhattan. I was made the Executive Chef at the then-new Mezzaluna restaurant in Corona del Mar, California, where I stayed for six years until it was closed by the owners. Later, I joined Ristorante Il Fornaio at their Manhattan Beach, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica locations. It was not until July 2000 that I found my home at Prego Ristorante.
At Prego, I have been able to elevate my knowledge as a Chef, but also transition into a restaurateur after becoming a Partner. Now, with Ruth and Tony Bedi as the new owners, I am so excited to be part of a restaurant that is experiencing steady growth in these hard times.
Question: When you’re not in the kitchen what are you doing?
Answer: Watching movies. I love Braveheart – I’ve seen it 20 times and know lines by heart. I also like the Gladiator and “Spaghetti Westerns” such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Question: What do you enjoy most about your profession?
Answer: The constant changes! There's always something new happening at Prego - this restaurant is now celebrating 25 years and has so much history to cherish. I’ve been here for more than a decade and have enjoyed getting to know the community. What wonderful people.
Question: What is your most popular dish?
Answer: Having launched a weekend brunch, every Saturday and Sunday I have the opportunity to make a variety of egg dishes and Belgian waffles, beignets (with my own twist) and so many other dishes that have me excited and experimenting in the kitchen. This is a new chapter in the Prego story and I’m optimistic we’ll really become a known brunch location (the bottomless mimosas and bloody marys for $6.50 are already luring them in).
Question: One food you can't live without??
Answer: Bread. There’s nothing in the world like freshly baked bread.