NIAF News Releases



Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

Journalists of Italian ancestry from CBS, NBC, FOX affiliates and key radio stations gathered to discuss important issues relating to the preservation of their rich, Italian culture at the Frank J. Guarini/NIAF Media Forum in Phoenix, Arizona.

Rick D’Amico, Fox 11 anchor of “Good Morning Arizona,”, Todd Sicolo, executive chef at the Biltmore Resort and Spa and Alexis DelChiaro, Fox 11 co-anchor of “Good Morning Arizona”

The eighth annual luncheon was held outdoors at the picturesque Cottage Court of the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa on February 26, 2010. The luncheon of Italian specialties and regional wines from Italy was made possible through the generous support of Ben Fusco, area vice president of operations for Hilton Resorts and Hotels.

FOX10 “Arizona Morning” anchors Alexis Del Chiaro and Rick D’Amico were joined by this year’s special guest Massimo Paolillo, Italy’s Vice Consul in Phoenix. Unique to this year’s event was the presence of the Biltmore’s executive chef Todd J. Sicolo. He prepared a special demonstration called “Menu of Gnudi” -- a dough-less ravioli on spaghetti, squash with pesto sauce, white currents and parmigiano cheese for the guests to sample and enjoy. The dish was so popular among the group that the Biltmore plans to add it to its menu.

Chef Demonstration of “Gnudi” dough-less ravioli

During the luncheon, Vice Consul Paolillo spoke about the prominence of Italian Americans in Phoenix and the need to continually spread our culture in spite of the absence of a “Little Italy” conclave in the city. Many of the journalists also asked for Paolillo’s help in advancing their applications for Italian citizenships.

The journalists had a lively discussion about the Foundation’s stance regarding “Jersey Shore” and if NIAF’s efforts were properly directed to pressure the advertisers and sponsors to cancel the second season of the MTV program.

Many stressed the importance of spreading our rich heritage through mentoring programs and a fundraising dinner for Team USA in Phoenix. The group wants to increase our participants at the luncheon by inviting business professionals to become a part of NIAF’s family. “Return of the Gold: The Journey of Jerry Colangelo and the Redeem Team” was presented to each guests along with information about the Foundation’s latest programs and events as they enjoyed biscotti, fresh berries and white chocolate tiramisu.

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