Your food rocks, by the way. So here at the dining hall, what are the differences you see in Italian and American tastes?
Usually, the American guys, they start just with the pasta with meat sauce and tomato sauce. They like to discover the meals, then they try everything. They usually love Italian food.
Are there any American foods that you enjoy?
I don’t very much, the American food. And we don’t cook American food, because there’s a lot, like, at the food court.
How many people do you feed a day, and when do you start cooking?
Seven hundred to 800, and at about 6:30 in the morning.
Your menu changes all the time. Where do you get those recipes?
I take the menu from the Internet, and I prepare the menu for one week. It’s very important to change the list.
If you could serve one Italian dish to an American who has never sampled your country’s incredible edibles, what would it be?
Baked lasagna, because it’s very popular. In Italy, we have many systems to prepare lasagna.
Have you ever heard of an American restaurant called Olive Garden? They serve Italian food, and they have these commercials where an Italian uncle is visiting America and he’s ranting and gesticulating in glee over a seven-dollar piece of veal. That seems so bogus to me. I mean, the guy’s from Italy. He’s most certainly had a better cut of baby cow.
I saw (Olive Garden) on the Discovery Channel.
Italians, of course, are world-renowned for creating the pizza. And all around Aviano Air Base, countless Italian restaurants cook up excellent, affordable and authentic pies. Why, then, is there always a line at Anthony’s Pizza in the food court?
Because [Americans] like the Italian food, but they still love their food. And they like something familiar.”
Interview by Geoff Ziezulewicz.
Title: Manager, the Mensa dining hall at Aviano Air Base, Italy
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