Culinary Institute of Tuscany

At Olive Garden, Italy, and more specifically Tuscany, is the inspiration for everything we do. We're especially inspired by the cultural traditions and the warmth and generosity of the Italian people. Olive Garden sends more than 100 Olive Garden team members to our Culinary Institute of Tuscany annually to celebrate and experience what Olive Garden holds dear – delighting every guest with a genuine Italian dining experience. This program is one way we inspire and foster passion, pride and commitment with our team members.

An Overview: Culinary Institute of Tuscany

In 1999, Olive Garden partnered with the Zingarelli family, proprietors of the Riserva di Fizzano property, to establish the Culinary Institute of Tuscany. Located on the grounds of the Rocca delle Macie Winery, the Culinary Institute of Tuscany welcomes Olive Garden team members from November through March every year.

More than 1400 Olive Garden chefs and managers throughout the U.S. have traveled to Italy to get immersed in Italian culture and learn about the cuisine. During the trips, Olive Garden chefs and restaurant managers learn fundamentals of Italian cooking, like how to combine fresh ingredients to create delicious meals they can share and enjoy with family and friends. Participants begin their experience in Siena, travel to Florence and then complete the trip in Rome, and they get to experience the culture, sites and food at every destination. For more than a decade, the program has been facilitated by Olive Garden Executive Chef Paolo Lafata – a native Italian and recognized Master Chef by the Italian Culinary Professionals Association (Associazione Professionale Cuochi Italiani). When the trips are over, participants return home with a better appreciation for, and understanding of, Italian culture and cuisine and share this with other team members and our guests.

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