illy at Mandarin Oriental Hotel

February 15, 2007

Andrea Illy and Thomas Keller

Illy Cups by Artists

Nori Sugie, head Chef of Asiate' at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel created most of the Illy anniversary lunch last week in the hotel's ballroom.  The canapés and the dessert  by Thomas Keller of Per Se just next door in the Time Warner Center included Carnet of marinated Atlantic Salmon with red onion crème fraiche, Hudson Valley mousse de foie gras with seasonal marmalade on toasted brioche, sterling white sturgeon caviar with Haas avocado mousse and pistachio oil and gruyere cheese gougieres.

The Japanese super chef Sugie emphasized the use of coffee in each course.  The first course was Illy Sevruga Cavier Coffee Gelee.  The second fish course was iIly smoked sea trout, caramelized endives, foie gras, and scrumptious stuffed coffee poached dates. 

Andrea Illy said:  "We are definitely a family company.  Coffee originated in Europe, specifically Venice and Vienna in the 17th Century.  My name, Illy, is Hungarian even though I really feel Italian and I have an Italian passport.  We are lead by value and ethics.  The average life of an American Corporation is about  l/3rd of the life of a European company even though we have a slower growth.

Chef Thomas Keller lauded the Illy Caffe' philosophy.  

 "Every morning that I wake up I have illy espresso.  It helps me get my day started.

"In developing a clientele, you have a relationship for quality and consistency.  So it helps our business when you already have a product that has quality and consistency.  I can only tell you how  proud I am in being associated with such a company as illy, and as a person every morning at breakfast.  Illy has helped me through the years --  and every morning." 

Illly was founded in Trieste, Italy in 1933 and has flourished in the world of gourmet and the arts  since.  Starting with its relationship with coffee growers to source the finest beans and give back to their coffee growing communities economically, socially and environmentally from Brazil to Ethiopia where it is grown.  Available in over 41,000 of the best restaurants and coffee bars, Illy is sold in over 100 countries worldwide.  Spotted at the luncheon was Drew Nieporent of the Tribeca Grill, Nobu and Montrachet. 

Famous International artists have been hired to design unique Illy coffee cups and saucer sets which have become collectors items selling for astronomical amounts on eBay.  The illy coffee machine constructed in many vibrant colors is another testament to its love of objets d'art as is its photographic collection by Sebastio Salgado. 

reported and photographed by Bettina Cirone


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