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Green cuisine

Local chefs bring on the sustainably-sourced St. Patrick's Day specials

POSTED: March 20, 2014 4:14 p.m.
Connect Savannah/

Chef Roberto Leoci has been recognized by Georgia’s Dept. of Agriculture for his prodigious use of regionally-sourced ingredients.

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'Tis the season for classic Irish-inspired fare, and there will be no shortage of hearty, homespun dishes served from Savannah's kitchens this week.

Eating local is fast becoming another Savannah foodie custom, and the meaning of “green cuisine” takes on more layers than a Shepherd’s Pie when it’s prepared with sustainably-raised meats and organic vegetables from our local farming community.

In a quest to combine scrumptious traditions new and old, we asked four chefs known for their commitment to local ingredients what they’re plating this St. Patrick’s Day. (What, no farm-fresh shamrock salad? Maybe next year...)

Green Ravioli @ Leoci's Trattoria

Housemade spinach pasta pillows stuffed with creamy ricotta-mascapone cheese from Southern Swiss Dairy and topped with Kachina Farms’ fresh basil and parsley make this vegetarian entrée a veritable culinary homage to verdancy.

Chef Roberto Leoci has incorporated green ideals into his restaurant since it opened in 2009, showcasing purveyors on the menu and in his line of prepared foods and condiments. Both Leoci’s Duck Prosciutto—made with meat from Brooklet’s Hunter Cattle Company—and his Raspberry Jalapeño Jam are finalists in the Flavor of Georgia Awards taking place in Atlanta March 17-18.

The Montreal-raised chef was recently recognized by the state Dept. of Agriculture as a Georgia Grown Executive Chef for his prodigious use of regionally-sourced products.

As if he wasn’t busy enough, he and his wife, Lacey, are opening a second location on Bay Street in May: Pacci will seat more than twice as many patrons as the trattoria and bring more local flavors than ever to Savannah.

“Cooking with local ingredients is the way I studied in Italy, so it comes naturally. It’s great that people are embracing the concept.”

—Chef Roberto Leoci

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