Musco Center for the Arts, Chapman University, and Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The Sebastian Paul and Marybelle Muso Chair in Italian Studies Presents Food & Culture: An Italian Perspective. Join us for a thought-provoking celebration of Italian food culture, featuring talks by influencers, scholars, and chefs. Sat, May 1, 11 a.m. PST. Virtual Event Livestream online on YouTube and Facebook. Four pictures of speakers and a wine glass with the Italian landscape inside.

Musco Center for the Arts, Wilkinson College, and the Italian Studies Program Present:
Food and Culture: An Italian Perspective

Saturday, May 1, 2021 | 11:00 a.m. PDT

“Today, at least in the more prosperous countries where variety is available to the masses, the label ‘Italian food’ is a means of marking one’s identity within an increasingly global and technological context in connection with ideas of quality, tradition, genuineness, nature, and community. The very notion of Italian food, now more than ever, entails a stance by which the creation of a new culture is at stake, no matter how apparently traditional it might seem. One of the aims of today’s event is that of understanding Italian cultural roots more lucidly by discovering how they make us what we are today.” Federico Pacchioni, Sebastian P., and Marybelle Musco, chair of Italian Studies

“Italy is a tapestry, and its history is what makes it one of the most fascinating places in the world. Its spectacular cuisine is only an expression of this tapestry, one that—while sprouting from culture—does not require a degree in classical letters to be appreciated. I hope today you will enjoy a new way to read the evolution of Italian culture through its most exquisite aspect.” Daniele Struppa, president of Chapman University 

Join us for a thought-provoking celebration of Italian food culture featuring talks by influencers, scholars, and chefs.

Program Lineup
Opening Remarks: 
Dr. Federico Pacchioni, Sebastian P., and Marybelle Musco, chair in Italian Studies; Silvia Chiave, consul general of Italy in Los Angeles

“The Soul of Italian Food,” a conversation between Daniele Struppa, Chapman University president, and Chef Sir Bruno Serato, owner of Anaheim White House Restaurant and founder of Caterina’s Club

“America, Italy’s Twenty-First Region: Italian Cuisine from Los Angeles to La Spezia,” a talk by Dr. Zachary Nowak, college fellow at Harvard University

“Poetry and Meat: Tuscan Traditions,” a conversation with Dario Cecchini, a traditional butcher from Panzano, Italy, featured in the Netflix series Chef’s Table

About the Speakers
Chef Dario Cecchini was born in 1955 in the Tuscan village of Panzano and into the ninth generation of the Cecchini butchers. He now runs several establishments in Panzano, and his unique cuisine style and approach have attracted international attention. On a mission to protect and promote the tradition of the local butcher against the rise of the powerful supermarkets, Cecchini believes butchery is an ancient art that involves respect for the animal and sees his role as that of teacher and educator. According to Cecchini, there are no “premium” and “lower” cuts of meat, and all the parts of the animal are useful if butchered and cooked in an appropriate way. Cecchini argues that his work could amount to poetry, a combination of knowledge (understanding that you can use every part of the animal) and consciousness (respect for the animal) that can bring people back to the “original customs of the tribe” in a world where almost everything is becoming increasingly commodified, processed, and impersonal. In March 2014 Cecchini was featured on BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme, which included a recording of him presenting at the MAD Symposium in August 2013 in Copenhagen to 500 chefs from around the world. In 2019, Cecchini was featured in Netflix’s documentary series Chef’s Table.

Chef Bruno Serato moved to Orange County, California, in 1987 and took over the ownership of Anaheim White House Restaurant, which has been hailed for bringing fine dining to Orange County. Chef Bruno’s philosophy is simple: treat every one of his patrons as a distinguished guest in his home. In 2005, Bruno and his mother, Caterina, visited the Boys and Girls Club of Anaheim where his mother noticed a six-year-old boy eating potato chips for dinner because his family couldn’t afford a proper meal. Caterina insisted that Bruno make some pasta for the child. They soon realized there were many more hungry “motel children,” so Bruno began making pasta for seventy-two children five nights a week. The Caterina’s Club now feeds thousands of hungry children every day in Orange County. Chef Bruno tells this and other stories in his beautifully illustrated book The Power of Pasta. It is part memoir and part cookbook but, above all, it is a work of advocacy on behalf of children and families who face poverty and homelessness.

Dr. Daniele Struppa joined Chapman University as provost in July 2006. He then assumed the position of chancellor in July 2007, and on September 1, 2016, Dr. Struppa became Chapman’s thirteenth president. Prior to coming to Chapman University, Dr. Struppa had a distinguished career as a professor of mathematics and occupied positions at the University of Milano (Italy), the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa (Italy), the University of Calabria (Italy) and, since 1987, at George Mason University. He is the author of ten volumes and more than 200 peer-reviewed publications, and he holds several patents in signal processing. Dr. Struppa has received numerous awards, including the 2016 Cozzarelli Prize from the National Academy of Sciences and the 2018 Ellis Island Medal of Honor. In addition, he is a member of the National Academy of Inventors.

Dr. Zachary Nowak is a college fellow in the Harvard History Department, where his research and teaching center on the history of the built and natural environment in the United States and the world. He is author and editor of various volumes including Truffle: A Global History (Reaktion 2015), Inventing the Pizzeria: A History of Pizza Making in Naples (Bloomsbury Academic 2015), and Representing Italy Through Food (Bloomsbury 2017). Dr. Nowak serves as the Advisory Board Chair of the Center for Food & Sustainability Studies at the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy. Dr. Nowak received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2018 and M.A.s from both Harvard University and Middlebury College.

A New Vision for Italian Studies at Chapman University:
The Institute for Italian Experience and Research

Through a dynamic interdisciplinary curriculum across several departments, a rich calendar of events, and various travel courses, the Italian Studies program has opened many doors to Italy for Chapman students and faculty over the past few years. Furthermore, the program, which has a growing national and international reputation, plays a leading role in promoting Italian culture and art in Orange County. The passion of our Chapman faculty and support from university administrators and donors, most notably Marybelle and Paul Musco, have played a key role in the program’s success. But that success is also linked to a unique vision of Italian Studies as a site of intellectual and cultural interfacing between different areas on campus and between university and community.

The unmatched opportunity for collaboration present within the Chapman faculty and student body, the legacy of enthusiastic Italian leadership and community involvement, and even the campus’s symbolic sites that harken back to the Bel Paese , all point to far greater potential than what is currently manifested. To realize that potential, a new configuration is needed: the Institute for Italian Experience and Research.

The institute will become an intellectual and ethical disciplinary nexus, a unifying force bridging modes of thinking, disciplinary traditions, and perspectives on creativity, society, and science. It will support existing research and teaching projects at Chapman University while functioning as the university’s official liaison with Italy and its people. It will also provide a new model for struggling foreign language and culture programs on a national scale, stretching disciplinary boundaries and activating the potential of humanistic study for the future. Championing Chapman’s growing number of scholarly and creative collaborations, curricular projects, and partnerships in and around Italy, the institute will become the ideal intellectual and administrative foundation for the creation of a center for Chapman University in Italy, which will also represent the university’s first expansion abroad.

For more information, please contact Dr. Federico Pacchioni at .

To view the event, click here.


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