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Italian Language Foundation Announces Giambelli Culinary Award Winners

Twelve recipients of the first-ever Giambelli Culinary Award were announced at a recent gala in New York City, honoring outstanding individuals and businesses in the Italian American culinary industry.

winners of ILF awards 2024

The Italian Language Foundation’s Giambelli Culinary Award 2024 recipients (from left): Enzo Alessandro, La Ginestra; Chef Alex Privilegi – Il Toscano; Amy Riolo, Chef, Cookbook Author, Culinary Ambassador; Vincenzo Alaia, Cafe’ Alaia; Lou Di Palo, Di Palo Fine Foods and C. Di Palo Wine Bar; Jennifer Maman, Matto Espresso; Giuseppe Di Martino, La Devozione; Raffaele Solinas, Osteria Brooklyn and Osteria Brooklyn-LIC. Recipients not pictured: Gianfranco Sorrentino, IL Gattopardo & The Leopard at des Artistes; Luigi Dioaiutati of Al Tiramisu; Franco Fazzuoli of Franco’s Italian Cafe; Peter Faggio of Lucibello’s Italian Pastry Shop. Photo: Jad Nammour

In late June, the Italian Language Foundation announced the recipients of the first-ever Giambelli Culinary Award at an event at the Columbus Citizens Foundation in Manhattan. The winners represent a range of culinary figures and organizations that exemplify the foundation’s goal to honor and promote Italian culture and cuisine in the United States.

“The Italian Language Foundation's Giambelli Culinary Award was created to acknowledge and honor outstanding individuals and businesses in the Italian American culinary industry,” says ILF President Margaret I. Cuomo. “The recipients of this prestigious award have proven their commitment to excellence in their quality, service, and creativity.”

Attendees at ILF awardss
From left: Louis Tallarini, ILF Chairman; Chris Vaccaro, ILF 2024 Honoree; Mary Ann Mattone, ILF 2024 Honoree; Margaret I. Cuomo, M.D., ILF President. Photo: Jad Nammour

Here are The Italian Language Foundation's Culinary Award 2024 recipients (in alphabetical order).

Al Tiramisu - Chef Luigi Diotaiuti - Washington, D.C.

Amy Riolo - Culinary And Healthy Lifestyle Ambassador, Cookbook Author, Educator - Washington, D.C.

Cafe' Alaia - Chef Vincenzo Alaia - Scarsdale, NY

Di Palo Fine Foods and C. Di Palo Wine Bar - NYC - Lou, Connie, Sal, And Marie Di Palo

Franco's Cafe - Franco Fazzuoli - Scottsdale, Arizona

Il Gattopardo, The Leopard at Des Artistes, and Mozzarella E Vino - Gianfranco Sorrentino - NYC

Il Toscano - Chef Alex Privilegi - Douglaston, NY

La Devozione - Giuseppe Di Martino - NYC

La Ginestra - Chef Enzo Alessandro - Glen Cove, NY

Lucibello's Italian Pastry Shop - Peter Faggio - New Haven, CT

Matto Espresso - Jennifer And Moshe Maman - NY and NJ

Osteria Brooklyn And Osteria Brooklyn-LIC - Chef Raffaele Solinas - Brooklyn and Long Island City, NYC

The ILF Giambelli Culinary Award is named for Francesco and Mary Giambelli, longtime restaurateurs in New York City. “This generous couple established the Giambelli Foundation to support many philanthropic causes, including Italian culture and language,” notes ILF President Cuomo. “The Italian Language Foundation is honored to receive their support for its work to preserve and promote Italian language and culture.”

Matilda Solinas
Matilda Solinas performs at the Italian Language Foundation's Giambelli Culinary Award 2024 Gala. Photo: Jad Nammour

The new award was presented June 26th at the Columbus Citizens Foundation, with guests including many of the recipients, as well as ILF representatives, Appetito Editor-in-Chief Andrew Cotto, and others. The event honored Chris Vaccaro, and Mary Ann and the late Joseph M. Mattone, Sr., and featured a performance by Matilda Solinas, a student at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts and daughter of award recipient Chef Raffaele Solinas.

Recipients of the award received a commemorative plaque and an annual subscription to Appetito, courtesy of the ILF.

Donations and nominations for the ILF and the ILF Giambelli Culinary Award can be made via the ILF website. Nominees can include restaurants, chefs, food vendors, distributors, markets, journalists, cookbook authors, lifestyle advocates, and culinary institutions.

ILF attendees
Members of the Emerging Leaders Council (ELC) and Andrew Cotto, Editor-in-Chief of Appetito and Italian America Magazine. From left: Jori Grossman, Lucy Baldwin, Gianpaolo Russo, Andrew Cotto, and Marianna Cuomo Maier, leader of the ELC. Photo: Jad Nammour

Besides the culinary award, the ILF has a long history of promoting Italian language education in the United States. Established in 2008, as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, the ILF supports students of Italian through free mentorship and leadership programs, as well as helping to arrange internships in companies and businesses offering Italian goods and services. 

The organization’s mission includes initiatives aimed at promoting Italian language education, including:

  • The Italian Language Foundation's College Fellowships provide stipends of $1,000 per semester to qualifying students attending American colleges and universities who are enrolled in Italian language classes.
  • Annual free professional development workshops and webinars for teachers of Italian, as well as annual Teacher Recognition Awards to outstanding teachers and professors of Italian.
  • Awards for Excellence for students of AP Italian who score a 5 on the AP Italian exam. 

Additionally, The ILF's Emerging Leaders Council (ELC), under the leadership of Marianna Cuomo Maier, welcomes postgraduate professionals in their 20s and 30s who share an interest in Italian culture, regardless of whether or not they speak Italian. The ELC organizes social and educational events, such as a walking tour of NYC’s Little Italy and an Italian wine tasting event at C. Di Palo Wine Bar in Manhattan. New activities will be announced in the fall of 2024.

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