Trattoria Il Mulino chef shares favorite recipe


Name: Thomas Cook

Current occupation: executive chef, Trattoria Il Mulino (Nashville Hilton Downtown)

How long there: 2 1/2 years, 11 years with the company

Where previously: Union Station Hotel/Prime 108, Opryland Hotel, Boca Raton Resort, Campanile, Mark Millitello’s

What’s the last meal you ate?

A toasted Bobby John Henry ciabatta bun with Philly cream cheese.

What’s your favorite recipe to cook at home?

Panzanella salad, a simple Italian bread salad.

Panzanella Salad

Recipe from chef Thomas Cook.

Yield: 4 orders


2 heirloom tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 ounces mixed pitted greek olives, cut in half
2 ounces capers
½ small red onion, julienned
2 ounces marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
2 ounces extra virgin olive oil
1 ounces white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped
1 ounce fresh basil chiffonnade
1 medium cucumber, seeded, peeled and sliced
3 ounces fresh mozzarella ciliegene
1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
Pinch fresh ground pepper
Large rustic croutons or crostini
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
3 ounces baby arugula


Mix all ingredients together except for the bread and cheese, season to taste. This mixture can be made a day ahead of time and kept in an airtight container in the fridge. For the croutons or crostini, use day old bread, preferably, and brush with a little olive oil, oregano and garlic. Either toast on a panini grill or in the oven at 300 degrees until golden brown and crispy. When you are ready to serve, toss the marinated panzanella mixture with the croutons and fresh mozzarella and serve on a bed of arugula with a sprinkle of sea salt on top. Bellissimo!

#FACTS Panzanella or panmolle is a Tuscan salad of bread and tomatoes that is popular in the summer. It includes chunks of soaked stale bread and tomatoes, sometimes also onions and basil, dressed with olive oil and vinegar. 

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