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Italian Sky Settles over Sanibel

By Staff | Dec 23, 2011

Chef Loretta Paganini of Sanibel Island's new Il Cielo

Branded as the definitive Italian dining experience, Il Cielo will open in Sanibel this January.

Meaning “The Sky” in Italian, Il Cielo is this community’s newest dining concept by celebrity chef Loretta Paganini, the renowned host of “Simply Gourmet” on the Discovery Channel and proprietor of the International Culinary Arts & Sciences Institute. Seasonal Sanibel residents John and Mary Jo Boler. Milan’s own Chef Marco Corricelli and Master Sommelier Ron Edwards complement the Il Cielo team.

“I’m thrilled to be part of this exciting new restaurant,” says Paganini. “Il Cielo will reflect my traditional Italian culinary roots and high standards of hospitality while keeping in mind the island’s culture, tastes and lifestyle.”

She has reportedly created an authentic Italian restaurant using fresh, local products offered in Tuscan-inspired surroundings for uniquely flavorful dishes. Menu selections will range from lighter fare, soups, salads and antipasti to main selections including pasta, seafood, meat and poultry specialties. Bar and dessert menus with a selection of cheeses will also be available. In order to keep the menu as fresh as possible, Paganini and Corricelli plan to change entrees and desserts in accordance with the seasons.

The Il Cielo experience will include an extensive wine list of perennial favorites and surprising alternatives personally selected by Master Edwards. The proprietors also plan to have live music and a full range of cocktails. The restaurant will be open for dinner seven days a week from 5 to 10 p.m., and happy hour will be served daily from 4 to 6 p.m., continuing from 9 p.m. to closing.

“Bolognese are known for their hospitality and generosity and making every visitor feel like family,” says Paganini.

“We at Il Cielo will warmly welcome all who join us for conversation, laughter, music, food and drink. We have been friends and fans of Loretta’s for years, and we are so excited she will now be a regular fixture on Sanibel,” said John Boler, a retired executive and founder of a global manufacturing company known as Hendrickson International in Illinois.

John Boler and his wife Mary Jo have lived part time on Sanibel for more than two decades and have supported numerous charities across Southwest Florida, including the Heights Foundation, the American Cancer Society of Lee County, Big Arts, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, Hope Clubhouse and more. In 2010, John Boler was named Arts Benefactor of the Year and both He and Mary Jo were recipients of the 2010-2011 Citizens of the Year Award given by the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce.

Born in Bologna, Italy, Paganini is director of ICASI, a state-of-the-art teaching center with five professional kitchens, a library, lecture hall and gardens. She is also founder of the Loretta Paganini School of Cooking in Cleveland and the author of “Bologna Mia” (St. Martin’s Press). Paganini is a frequent guest on The Learning Channel, WKYC’s “Good Company,” the CBS Early Show and other national programs.

In addition to regular visits, she resides on Sanibel for one month each year.

Chef Corricelli began his career at the Amerigo Vespucci Institute of Culinary Arts in Milan and made his early reputation in renowned kitchens across Amsterdam, London and Paris. In 2007, the 5-star Las Dunas Palace beckoned Marco to Spain, and soon after, he was recruited away by Lenotre Marbella- a crown jewel in the culinary empire of French legend Gaston Lenotre. Corricelli’s passion brought him to the attention of nearby La Zagaleta Country Club, the most exclusive resort on the continent. He has also served as private chef for several of Europe’s most prominent families. Edwards is an esteemed consultant, educator and one of fewer than 200 credentialed master sommeliers in Europe and America.

Il Cielo is located at 1244 Periwinkle Way in the former Dolce Vita location. The interior, which seats 150, has been completely renovated.

For more information, phone (239)472-5555 or visit www.ilcielosanibel.com.