Complete Story


Mario Rizzotti

Food & Beverage Trends


Sunday, September 25

Food & Beverage Trends: Host of Food Fight! Cooking Competition

Monday, September 26

Food & Beverage Trends: Cooking Demo

You may recognize Mario best as a multi time judge on The Food Network’s popular
show “Iron Chef America.” His Italian culinary background helped him add a diverse
aspect when on the judging panel.

Kitchens here in the states proved to be a world away from the kitchens of Mario’s
native Rome, where his passions for Italian cuisine and its authentic ingredients were
first ignited. There at the side of his mother, he learned the value of using the freshest
and finest products sourced from their natural locales.
Armed with this knowledge, he set out for the United States in the mid nineties to
learn how Americans use Italian ingredients. After working in the hospitality industry
for several years, Mario decided to devote his time to educating the country about
Italian products, helping them understand what makes them genuine and how they are
used in his homeland.

Mario eventually joined Academia Barilla as an Italian Culinary Specialist, educating
consumers on the differences in olive oils, balsamic vinegars, Italian cheeses, and
cured meats, and how to distinguish real Italian products from the many other
products that are available in our markets.

Also seen as a demonstration chef on the Bellavita stage at The National Restaurant
Association show, and “Master of Ceremonies” for the Italian celebration at a
Chicago Gourmet event. During the pandemic, Mario was asked by the Italian
Embassy to be included with Italian culinary authorities in the United States in a
campaign called Stay home and cook Italian.

Mario continues his educational mission through media appearances, live cooking
demonstrations, informational sessions, and by teaming up with local Chefs across the
U.S. to present authentic Italian themed dinners on a tour entitled, “All About Italian
Food.” He is equally committed to putting his skills to use for the benefit of some
worthwhile charitable causes. He has served as a host and a judge for organizations
such as Operation North Pole, Casa DeKalb, Culinary Care, Walgreens Red Nose
campaign, Samaritan’s Feet and the “Iron Chief” competition in Lincolnwood, Illinois
where he currently resides.

Whatever the nature of the event, Mario always adds his Italian flare.

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