Photo by Colin Healy
Chefs Paige Healy and Gregorio Spinzo
Paige Healy and Gregorio Spinzo are grinning on my laptop screen. The cuisine developers and chefs of both Boathouse restaurants — and the popular outdoor dining events Dinner in the Field — have just driven from Utah to Wyoming on their honeymoon, stopping to rest and answer my Skype call. Their smiles are infectious; despite spending 20 hours per week in their work kitchen and 10 hours per week in the kitchen at home, the newlywed couple can’t get enough of each other.
Theirs was a whirlwind romance: Healy was enrolled in a culinary program in Italy when she and Spinzo met in 2013.
“Gregorio’s cousin pointed him out to me across the square where we were people-watching,” Healy says. “I thought he was her boyfriend! I was like, ‘Good job!’ and she was like, ‘No, that’s my cousin!’ ”
The couple were engaged by June of this year and married in September.
Healy and Spinzo bonded over a love of Italian cuisine; their favorite dish to prepare together is a traditional carbonara. Spinzo learned to cook by watching his grandmother, mother, father and sisters provide for him and his eight siblings. Their building, where 12 of his aunts and uncles and 17 of his cousins also lived, was the scene of a weekly feast for at least 40, where every pair of hands was needed. This was the environment in which Healy, a Richmond native, fell in love with the rustic Italian food that can be found on the menus of both The Boathouse restaurants (Rocketts Landing and Sunday Park) and Dinner in the Field.
When designing these dishes, the pair try to balance Spinzo’s Italian heritage and Healy’s ties to the American palate.
“American Italian food is very different from traditional Italian,” Healy explains. “When I went over to Italy, they had never moved away from eating things hours off of the vine. I realized what a difference in the flavor it made.”
She attributes Dinner in the Field’s inspiration to a mixture of these large, Italian family meals and exposure to a true farm-to-table approach.
“All we do is give people good food, make friends and have fun,” Healy says.
Dinner in the Field returns in May 2015, with details and dates available at dinnerinthefield.com.