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Would you like to improve your cooking skills or to add an Italian taste to the usual menu?
Once a month, Il Fornaio restaurant in Beverly Hills offers a cooking class based on authentic recipes from different Italian regions. Four courses, from the appetizer to the dessert, to learn - and enjoy - the secrets of a world-famous culinary tradition, revealed by Chef Giuseppe DiMola.
Giuseppe has been working for Il Fornaio BH for 12 years, and as a chef since 1978. Before moving to Los Angeles in 1984, he worked in hotel and restaurants in many prestigious tourist locations in Italy, such as Venice, the Elba Island, and the Riviera Romagnola, as well as in Palm Desert, California.
His passion for cooking dates back to his youth in Apulia, where his family used to make food at home. And despite all the years living in the United States, he has maintained a strong and deep relation with his native country. Therefore, the amazing specialties that he prepares and serves to his customers are truly Italian: “There are so many restaurants that only imitates our cuisine, disseminating wrong information about it and penalizing those who respect it for real. Sometimes we are forced to accept compromises, to adapt our knowledge to the local taste.”
Giuseppe’s commitment is to teaching the American public which ingredients to use and how, to obtain real Italian dishes from homemade gnocchi with marinara sauce to fish al cartoccio and Millefoglie. He explains that Il Fornaio products are imported from Italy, some of them - like cheese, olive oil and olives, cold cuts, and wine - even through exclusive agreements with the suppliers. “When I arrived here in the U.S., many of those things were impossible to be found. There was no fresh mozzarella or balsamic vinegar in the stores, and a very few varieties of Italian wine. Now many things have changed.”
In particular, authentic ingredients are used on the occasion of Festa Regionale, a series of regional dinners that take place at the restaurant each month, featuring typical dishes from one Italian region: March is dedicated to Basilicata, to be followed by Apulia in April. “I am particularly glad to prepare the menu from Apulia, my native land. Usually, it includes orecchiette with broccoli rabe, baked fish, burrata cheese, rice with potatoes. Sometimes we collaborate with the Italian regional institutions that provide us with products or promote the initiative”, says the Chef.
His indisputable ability and attention to the tradition are probably the reasons why he is so often asked to cater for important events organized by the Italian Institutions in Los Angeles, such as the Consulate General, the Italian Cultural Institute, and the Chamber of Commerce.
Il Fornaio was originally designed and started in Italy as a retail bakery, and in 1981 the concept was imported to the United States. Years later, it was sold to an American corporation but - as one can experience - the management, chefs, products, and overall atmosphere have remained truly Italian.