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$99 for one ticket to “Chef for a Day: A Taste of Italy” ($300 value)
The event is scheduled to run from 11 a.m.–2 p.m. on the following Saturdays:
- August 2
- August 9
- August 16
- August 23
- September 6
- September 13
- September 20
- September 27
Students take part private cooking class, where a cooking demonstration complements topics such as pasta creation and knife skills. The event concludes with a customized multi-course lunch and wine pairing.
"For me, my philosophy of food, and especially Italian food, is three words: simple, rustic and brutal," Gaetano Ascione told the Chicago Tribune, "What I mean by brutal is that you see what you get. There is no behind-the-scenes hidden stuff." The Naples-born chef and World Gourmet Summit Chef of the Year finalist has remained true to this no-frills culinary motto, even while serving such noted hungry people as Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter throughout his globe-trotting career.
That sense of deceptive simplicity is evident throughout Gioco's menu of Italian cuisine. Thin-crust pizzas are topped with goat cheese and white truffle oil before being slid into a wood-fired oven and baked to a crisp. The delicate texture of homemade pasta is set off by rich bolognese sauce, tender oxtail meat, or creamy burrata. Chef Gaetano likewise ages his prosciutto for 600 days to bring out its natural flavor before slicing it thin and serving with seasonal melon. The surroundings mirror the cuisine's understated elegance; Gioco is housed within the original brickwork and sleek modern lighting of a nineteenth-century South Loop building.