Califonia Bountiful

Bacio Catering in Chico brings fresh local flavor to winter fare

January/February 2020 California Bountiful magazine

Mentor and protégé share vision for popular company

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Paige Nies, left, is culinary director of a catering company owned by Amanda Leveroni. Photo: © 2020 Frank Rebelo

Amanda Leveroni and Paige Nies—owner and culinary director, respectively, of Chico catering company Bacio—share more than just corporate goals and an office. They share a mutual respect.

A Colorado native, Nies joined Leveroni's 35-year-old business five years ago.

"I've been taught a lot here," Nies said. "I was just a little baby chef when I started, and Amanda obviously is one of my biggest mentors in my life."

Leveroni smiles and is quick to add, "Early on, I recognized a really quick learner, a very passionate young chef, who was not classically trained but very intuitive, a great leader. So I've been cultivating and feeding her for all this time, and she in turn me—with her youthfulness and her insight into food trends and finger on the pulse of what people are looking for."

The two collaborate extensively on each client's menu, with inspiration beginning with the season in which the event will be held.

"It starts with what's growing in the field," Leveroni said. "Needless to say, we live in a region, especially Butte County, where there's a plethora of incredible food to design with."

Although Leveroni said she is "a salad girl" who favors the bright flavors of spring and summer, Nies acknowledges an affinity for winter fare.

"It's so hearty and comforting, and that's what gathering around a table is all about, and being with your family and your friends, and letting something slow cook in the oven all day," she said. "You can taste the love and time and effort put into every dish."

Barbara Arciero


Butternut soubise lasagna

Pear tartelettes with Gouda and caramelized onion

Super kale slaw 

Walnut caper chimichurri

Chico rice salad 

Winter braised stew over creamy polenta  

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