The Food Network’s Iron Chef America Judge Mario Rizzotti to Cook Authentic Italian Fare for Meijer Customers

Retailer teams up with Italian Trade Agency to bring Mercato Italiano to Meijer

January 12, 2017

Contact: Christina Fecher, christina.fecher@meijer.com, 616-540-6108

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Meijer is teaming up with the Italian Trade Agency to bring an authentic Italian cooking experience to select Meijer stores hosted later this month by The Food Network’s Iron Chef America Judge, Mario Rizzotti.

The cooking demonstrations are part of a larger Meijer Mercato Italiano experience that will take place at all Meijer stores, featuring more than 400 authentic Italian products like artisan Italian pasta, San Marzano tomatoes, Italian wine and Italian extra virgin olive oil for a limited time beginning mid-month.

“Meijer is pleased to partner with the Italian Trade Agency to offer our customers an authentic Italian cooking experience,” said Peter Whitsett, Executive Vice President of Merchandising and Marketing. “Interest in Italian food continues to rise. We wanted to create an experience to make it easy for our customers to find and learn about the ingredients they want. With Mario’s help, they’ll gain a greater understanding of true Italian ingredients and how best to use them.”

During each of the six Italian cooking demonstrations, Rizzotti will cook an authentic Italian pasta dish and put his own twist on a gelato for the first 50 customers with a wristband. The events, which will also feature a live Q&A session, will be held from 6-7 p.m.:

  • Jan. 23 at the Algonquin Meijer, 400 S. Randall Road in Algonquin, Ill.
  • Jan. 24 at the Indianapolis Meijer, 5550 N. Keystone Ave. in Indianapolis, Ind.
  • Jan. 25 at the Knapp’s Corner Meijer, 1997 E. Beltline Ave. in Grand Rapids, Mich.
  • Jan. 26 at the Okemos Meijer, 2055 W. Grand River Ave. in Okemos, Mich.
  • Jan. 27 at the Royal Oak Meijer, 5150 Coolidge Hwy. in Royal Oak, Mich.
  • Jan. 28 at the Westerville Meijer, 100 Polaris Parkway in Westerville, Ohio

“It’s great to see a major retailer like Meijer working in partnership with the Italian government in an effort to offer Americans a larger variety of rare Italian products,” Rizzotti said. “I’ve spent my career educating food lovers on how to tell authentic Italian products from the fake, so I’m thrilled to be part of Meijer’s Italian Chef events.”

Rizzotti, an acclaimed TV personality and Italian culinary expert, left Rome in his early 20s and moved to the United States, where he has been educating food lovers about authentic Italian ingredients. He is best known as the seasoned - yet approachable - judge on The Food Network’s “Iron Chef America.”

About Meijer:

Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 230 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. A privately-owned and family-operated company since 1934, Meijer pioneered the “one-stop shopping” concept and has evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive apparel departments, garden centers and electronics offerings. For more information on Meijer, please visit www.meijer.com. Follow Meijer on Twitter @twitter.com/Meijer and @twitter.com/MeijerPR or become a fan at www.facebook.com/meijer.

About ITA:

The Italian Trade Agency is the government organization which provides the internationalization of the Italian companies in line with the strategies of the Ministry for Economic development. The ITA provides information, support and advice to Italian and foreign based companies interested in “Made in Italy” products and technologies. In addition to its headquarters in Rome, the ITA operates worldwide from a network of 65 Trade Promotion Offices linked to Italian embassies and Consulates, the ITA also works closely with local authorities and businesses. The ITA Chicago office (chicago@ice.it, Twitter @ITAChicago), has partnered with selected major U.S. retailers on promotional activities aimed at increasing the selection of “Authentic Italian” food and wines.

About Mario:

Mario Rizzotti is an acclaimed television personality and Italian culinary expert who lives by one simple motto, “a meal is not the consumption of food, but rather a celebration of Dolce Vita.” TV audiences know him best as the seasoned yet approachable judge on The Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” where he was called to judge Iron Chefs like Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Marc Forgione, Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto and more. After leaving Rome, Italy in his early twenties, Mario moved the U.S. and has been educating food lovers everywhere about authentic Italian ingredients. As Italian Culinary Expert for Academia Barilla, Mario helped consumers understand the differences in olive oils, balsamic vinegars, Italian cheeses and cured meats, and how to distinguish real Italian products. He has been asked to Emcee and judge at numerous culinary events including Chicago Gourmet, Aspen Food and Wine and more, and is often sought after for advice when chefs open new restaurants and create new menus. Mario resides outside of Chicago with his wife and three children.



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