Celebrating Italian Heritage and Strengthening NIAF’s Presence in The City of Flowers with Olympic Gold Medalist Brian Boitano


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or elissa@niaf.org



As Seattle prepared for its 26th Annual Festa Italiana, the largest two-day event at the Seattle Center saluting the spirit and values brought to America by Italian immigrants, the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) invited local television anchors, producers and reporters to celebrate the rich heritage of Italian Americans in the city during the 26th Anniversary Festa Italiana luncheon on September 24, 2013.

Brian Boitano, Olympic Gold medalist and star of Food Network Show and companion cookbook, “What Would Brian Boitano Make?” was the luncheon’s keynote speaker. Boitano spoke about the importance of heritage as he chronicled his skating career and his gold medal win during the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Canada; his lifelong passion for and cooking; and the renovation of his great grandfather’s home outside of Portofino, Italy. “One of the best things I have accomplished besides winning a gold medal, was renovating my family home in Italy,” added Boitano. Immediately following the luncheon, he signed copies of “What Would Brian Make?” which includes some of Brian’s favorite food memories and family recipes.

NIAF President John M. Viola welcomed the more than 100 guests at the Seattle Yacht Club. For seven consecutive years, Gerard V. Centioli, NIAF area coordinator for Seattle and president and chief executive officer of ICON INC, has hosted the journalists as part of the Frank J. Guarini/NIAF Media Forums. Julie Francavilla, former morning and noon anchor at KIRO TV (CBS) served as our media chair.

The event began with a cocktail reception overlooking Portage Bay with members of the Italian Club of Seattle, their family and friends at the kickoff luncheon.

Each year Festa Italiana and The Italian Club of Seattle honor an outstanding local Italian American with the annual Gill Centioli Memorial Award. This year’s award was presented to Jules Orsucci. Brian DiJulio received the Volunteer of the Year Award. To learn more about the week-long series of events held during Festa Italiana, visit www.festaseattle.com.

In the kitchen with figure skater Brian Boitano

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